{"0":{"sm_title":"Are the Thoughts of God Foolish to You?","sm_id":"369","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2021-01","length_sec":"00","length_min":"00","sm_asx":"","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/10\/20t1\/20201020t1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"http:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/sermon-newsletter-202101-are-the-thoughts-of-god-foolish-to-you.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\\\"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope\\\"<\/em> (Jeremiah 29:11). Did you know that God is thinking thoughts about you that you have not yet thought about yourself? He has a future and a hope for you that He already won for you 2,000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross for your sins. And when He rose from the dead, the scripture says He took your captivity captive and gave gifts to you—things that only He can do. That means He begins to operate through your life and make you into much more than you could ever hope to be in yourself.<\/p>\r\n

The verse goes on to say, \\\"Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart\\\"<\/em> (Jeremiah 29:12–13). What an incredible promise! God will listen to us, and we will find Him. We will know what He is speaking to us and how He is leading our life.<\/p>\r\n

However, in order to get to this place, we must stop thinking our own thoughts and begin to agree with the thoughts of God. We must get beyond the battle of the mind. That is really where victory or defeat in the Christian life is found. If we never become people of faith, then we will live far beneath what God has for us. We must have a new mind—a new way of thinking.<\/p>\r\n

The apostle Paul made a distinction between spiritual people and natural people. Natural people live within the parameters of their old thinking and therefore remain in a realm far beneath their inheritance in Christ Jesus. Paul told the Corinthian church, \\\"As it is written: \\'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.\\' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God\\\"<\/em> (1 Corinthians 2:9–10).<\/p>\r\n

Natural people cannot know the things God has prepared for them. But when you came to Christ, God sent His Holy Spirit into your life to lead you into all truth. He gave you the power to live in the promises of God, and your life became everything that God has been thinking about you. Paul warned, \\\"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him\\\"<\/em> (1 Corinthians 2:14).<\/p>\r\n

So here is my question to you: Do the thoughts of God sound foolish to you? Do you push away the things that God is thinking—those whispers that come into your heart every once in a while? Perhaps during your Bible reading one day, He spoke to you about something He has for your life that is far beyond your ideas about yourself. Do these thoughts of God sound like foolishness to you?<\/p>\r\nA GREAT AND EFFECTIVE DOOR<\/span>\r\n

The apostle Paul once told the Corinthian Christians, \\\"For a great and effective door has opened to me\\\"<\/em> (1 Corinthians 16:9). Now when we think of a great door, we think of a doorway to a palace, perhaps, or a doorway to power. But Paul did not see it that way. Paul was given eyes of the Spirit, because in the natural, it was a prison door that God was leading him to. Think about this for a moment. In the natural, Paul was going to be taken captive, put on a ship, transported to Rome and other places, and eventually he would spend much of the remainder of his life in prison.<\/p>\r\n

A lot of people lose their vision because of their circumstances. But picture the apostle Paul—led into a prison, chained between guards, with only a pen and paper in his hand. However, he somehow knew in his heart that a great and effectual door had been opened to him. Later, he was able to write to the people that he left behind in his journey, \\\"I believe that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose\\\" (see Romans 8:28). He was able to write to the Roman church, \\\"I believe that no mountain, no valley, no opposition, no power, no principality—nothing out there—can separate me from the love of God\\\" (see Romans 8:38–39). He believed that the victory was his, that he had been led into this place.<\/p>\r\n

In the natural, Paul was a man who had been beaten and shipwrecked, stoned and taken captive. However, as a spiritual man, he was not living in those places. He was living in a place where he was walking in the thoughts that God was thinking about him. In the realm of the Spirit, he was not just visiting one church in Corinth. In fact, he has been visiting every church for 2,000 years! He is even here today because we are reading his words. He is visiting you today in your living room, your situation, your marriage, your family, your life!<\/p>\r\n

You see, it was as if the apostle Paul saw you in the future. You are what was inside this great and effective door that God was opening to him. He understood that God\\'s thoughts about him were so much bigger than what the people around him thought or even what he thought about himself. That is why Paul could write to the Corinthians, \\\"To the natural man, the thoughts of God are foolishness. But to the spiritual man, they are life and power for the journey. They are vision to understand something far beyond the natural confines of our lives\\\" (see 1 Corinthians 2:14).<\/p>\r\nIT ALL BEGAN AT STARBUCKS<\/span>\r\n

Perhaps you are now wondering, \\\"Well, how does this apply to me? I am not the apostle Paul.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Let me tell you a story. Several years ago, a lady told Pastor Teresa and me how she started to pray, \\\"God, You must have a door for me. You must have something that You want to do in my life that I have not considered yet.\\\" As she prayed, suddenly a strong impression came into her heart: \\\"Go to Starbucks, order a coffee, sit down at a table, and just start reading your Bible.\\\" Those were the thoughts God was thinking about her! Isn\\'t that amazing?<\/p>\r\n

And so she obeyed God and went to Starbucks. She ordered a coffee, sat down at a table, opened her Bible and began to read. After a little while, a lady who was also there having coffee came over to her table and asked, \\\"What is it that you are reading?\\\" She answered, \\\"I am reading the Bible. It is the Word of God.\\\" The other lady asked, \\\"Would you mind if I joined you?\\\" She sat down, and the lady who had heard from God realized that her new friend was not a believer. She was able to share Christ with her. Finally, the lady asked her, \\\"Do you think we can meet back here again next week?\\\"<\/p>\r\n

The next week the new lady came back accompanied by about six friends. They were all sitting around the table! Eventually, this Christian lady had a discipleship group of brand-new believers in Christ, and every week everybody was bringing somebody else. By the time we talked to her, she was leading a group of between forty to sixty women in a study of the Scriptures! This was just somebody who began to seek God and ask, \\\"What thoughts do You have for me?\\\"<\/p>\r\n

We always want to go from zero to a million people in a conference somewhere and we forget that almost everything we do for God starts with a small beginning. As it says in Zechariah, \\\"Don\\'t despise the day of small things\\\" (see Zechariah 4:10). I believe God is reminding you today that what He has called you to do will be done. So when He speaks to you, do not think that His thoughts toward you are foolish, even if it seems that way in the natural.<\/p>\r\n

After all, who would have thought this kind of evangelism could happen at Starbucks? Remember, it was not just sixty women finding Christ as their Savior. I am sure that each of those women went on to have an effect on their world. Many of them probably will lead their husbands to Christ. Many of their families will become Christian families. Many of their kids will begin to go to church. A number of them will go on to become great evangelists in the Kingdom of God, winning thousands to Christ. And finally, when this lady who went to Starbucks appears at the throne of heaven one day, there will be a hundred thousand people saying, \\\"Thank you for what you did in Starbucks that day! Thank you for opening your Bible. Thank you for obeying God. Thank you for letting the thoughts of God govern your life. Because of you, we are here!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Remember, \\\"a great and effective door\\\" may look small in the natural. Imagine the people in Corinth who did not have a spiritual mindset, shaking their heads and saying, \\\"Well, whatever happened to the great door that God was going to open for Paul?\\\" He ended up chained between soldiers, and all he had was a piece of paper and some ink. All he could do was write some letters to some of his friends.<\/p>\r\n

Yes, God\\'s ways are foolish to those who live in the natural! But I believe it is much better to be counted a fool to the world and live for God. Remember, His thoughts toward you are of peace and not of evil, to give you a hope and a future. And if you are willing to embrace His thoughts rather than counting them foolish, you will see that He is indeed able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can even ask or think!<\/p>\r\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \\\"ARE THE THOUGHTS OF GOD FOOLISH TO YOU?<\/strong>,\\\" a sermon given on October 20, 2020<\/strong>. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"1":{"sm_title":"Eating the Food of the Land","sm_id":"367","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2020-12","length_sec":"00","length_min":"00","sm_asx":"","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/07\/21t1\/20200721t1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"http:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/sermon-newsletter-202012-eating-the-food-of-the-land.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\u201cLet nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name<\/em>\u201d (Philippians 2:3\u20139).<\/p>\r\n

There is no greater reputation than being God, but the Scriptures tell us that Jesus made Himself of no reputation. He came down from on high and walked among us, suffered our infirmities, and then went to a cross to pay the price for our sins. And now Paul instructs us in this passage, \u201cLet this mind be in you.\u201d As the Church of Jesus Christ, we need to once again see the needs and sufferings of the people all around us. We must make a choice to move toward them\u2014just as the Son of God moved toward us. Yes, this will involve a whole new mind\u2014the mind of Christ\u2014which means we must stop looking only for our own comfort and security. As Paul says, we must consider \u201cthe interests of others.\u201d We must choose to be obedient, even if it takes us to a place of suffering.<\/p>\r\nA RECKONING<\/span>\r\n

The generation of Israelites who came out of bondage in Egypt were an example of those who refused to make that choice. They ultimately decided not to go into the place of promise that God intended for them\u2014a decision that was based on self\u2013preservation. They looked at the size of the giants; they saw the fortifications of cities that God told them would belong to them. And then, out of fear, they drew the conclusion, \u201cWe are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we\u2026The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight\u201d <\/em>(Numbers 13:31\u201333). Sadly, in every generation, there are Christians who make that choice, and they end up living in a spiritual wilderness. Though it is not a place of total defeat, it is not a place of victory. Their life has no influence, they conquer nothing for God, and they do not operate in the supernatural.<\/p>\r\n

However, in the book of Joshua, we see a new generation arise. They had been raised in the wilderness, but they were being called by God to go into the place of promise that their forefathers had chosen not to enter. This generation stepped up and made the choice to obey and fight. It is phenomenal when you begin to consider that, in a sense, they were actually fighting for you and me. They were paving the pathway that would ultimately lead to Christ\u2019s being born in the Promised Land. Of course, after His death and resurrection, Jesus became our \u201cpromised land.\u201d Our life, our hope, our mind, our wisdom, our victory, our future is in Him. Every promise of God no longer resides in a physical land\u2014they are now all found in the person of Jesus Christ.<\/p>\r\n

Now before they went in, \u201cThe Lord said to Joshua, \u2018Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.\u2019 So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come up out of Egypt\u201d<\/em> (Joshua 5:2\u20134). Circumcision was a covenant\u2014in this case, a whole new generation committing to God: \u201cOur forefathers may have chosen security over Your glory, but we are going to follow You, Lord.\u201d And so they had to endure the shame, pain, and separation of circumcision. It began with exposure\u2014an admission in their hearts: \u201cI am not everything I should be. God is calling me to more.\u201d<\/p>\r\n

Likewise, I believe God is bringing His Church into a place of reckoning. He is trying to remind us once again what we are supposed to be. Many of God\u2019s people have lived in the wilderness far too long\u2014out of Egypt, but not in the place God promised. Yes, they have come out from under the penalty of sin, but they have not become what God wanted them to be\u2014not conquering the things God called them to conquer.<\/p>\r\n

We have had no passion for prayer because, in many cases, we were content to dwell in a dry place without the mind of Christ. However, we have reached a point where there must be a reckoning with the failures of the past; otherwise we will not go to where God is calling us. We will simply justify who we are and blame somebody else for the mess that our nation is in.<\/p>\r\n

You and I must ask the Lord to give us the grace to go further than what others say is far enough; the grace to suffer so that the sufferings of others may cease. Yes, there is a certain pain that comes with separation. There is the pain of putting away old practices, old relationships, old ways of thinking, and becoming separated unto God. Embracing that separation means saying, \u201cI am going to be identified as a follower of Jesus Christ from this day forward.\u201d No more hiding in the closet. I am sure you are aware that it is going to cost you to have a biblical opinion. But if we are ever going to know the power of God manifested through our lives, we must be willing to stand up and be separated.<\/p>\r\nCROSSING INTO THE PROMISED LAND<\/span>\r\n

The Scripture then tells us: \u201cThey ate of the produce of the land on the day after Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year\u201d (Joshua 5:11\u201312).<\/p>\r\n

In the season when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, there was a grace covering them called manna. It is amazing to think that God gave them this bread from heaven while they were still uncircumcised\u2014while they still had not made the decision to go into the Promised Land. Similarly, each of us is given this incredible grace when we come to Christ. Although we are immediately forgiven of our sins, it can be a long time before we decide to actually go in and become what God has called us to be. In that season, God still rains His provision on us\u2014showering us with His favor, keeping and sustaining us. Nevertheless, there is a time when childishness needs to be put away and we must become sons and daughters of God. There comes a point when the calling and mind of Christ must become ours again.<\/p>\r\n

The day the Israelites made the choice to go into the place of promise was the first day they began to eat the food of the land. I love how the original King James Version says, \u201cThey did not eat of the old corn of the land\u201d<\/em> (Joshua 5:11 KJV). In our day, I believe this would be like going back to what the Bible says a Christian really is\u2014returning to the old truths that somehow got hidden in this self-consumed generation that has chosen to live in the wilderness.<\/p>\r\n

You see, when we make the choice to cross into the place that God is calling us to, suddenly the old food of the land becomes available to us again. We start reading passages of Scripture that perhaps have largely been forgotten in our generation, and we discover that the Word is coming to life. This is critical, for if we are going to fully become what God has intended us to be, His promises are going to be the only food that will keep us.<\/p>\r\nA SERIOUS CALL<\/span>\r\n

We see in the Bible the first thing that happened after the Israelites began to eat the food of the land was that Jericho fell. They did not have to do anything but march around the city and shout! God gave them a marvelous victory over a fortified place that was declaring its dominance over the Promised Land.<\/p>\r\n

We have many strongholds in our society today as well\u2014in our cities, in our culture. I believe that the bitterness, division, and godlessness has now gone too deep for any kind of human response to adequately deal with it. We need a divine response\u2014which God always releases through His people. He ties the working of His hand to you and me, and that is why He charges us, \u201cLet this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus\u201d<\/em> (Philippians 2:5).<\/p>\r\n

I am not going to suggest to you that this \u201ceating of the food of the land\u201d is going to be easy. The early Church knew this, and churches in some of the persecuted countries around the world today know this as well. And though we in America have largely chosen to live in the wilderness, we no longer have that option. It is a do-or-die moment for the Church of Jesus Christ in this nation.<\/p>\r\n

I hope that you are seriously considering the call of God on your life, just as I am. Jesus shed His blood and gave His body for us. The Scripture tells us that we are now called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (see Matthew 16:24). We cannot put away this old truth or attempt to make it palatable.<\/p>\r\n

Some of us may suffer in the days ahead. However, I want you to always remember that even if you consider yourself weak, you are mighty in God. Simply yield to Him and trust Him for the grace to get up and go forward, understanding that He has an incredible plan for your life. Let His power and life flow through you; let the mind of Christ be in you!<\/p>\r\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \u201cEATING THE FOOD OF THE LAND<\/strong>,\u201d a sermon given on July 21, 2020<\/strong>. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version\u00ae. Copyright \u00a9 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"2":{"sm_title":"The Incredible Kindness of Jesus","sm_id":"365","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2020-11","length_sec":"00","length_min":"00","sm_asx":"","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/08\/11t1\/20200811t1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"http:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/sermon-newsletter-202011-the-incredible-kindness-of-jesus.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\\\"All the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, \\'This Man receives sinners and eats with them\\'\\\"<\/em> (Luke 15:1\u20132). Picture the scene. There are those who know they are very distant from God, yet they feel comfortable in His presence. On the other hand, there are those who feel they are close to God but feel very uncomfortable in His presence. Isn\\'t it interesting how that can happen?<\/p>\r\n

Jesus tells this story: \\\"A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, \\'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.\\' So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living<\/em>\\\" (Luke 15:11\u201313). This younger son took the life that his father had given him\u2014the heritage, the title, the resources to accomplish what his life was supposed to be\u2014and went to a place that was far, far away from the heart of his father.<\/p>\r\n

Just like this son, when people turn away from God, they often turn away from the purposes of God. In their hearts, they may not think they have turned from God, but they begin to gravitate to a self-focused gospel. Sadly, when the house of God has become legalistic and strict\u2014where it all becomes about the length of clothing, church attendance, and doing your service for the house of God\u2014another generation takes this inheritance of God and goes far away from His heart. They do not want to go to hell, but they do not want to be in a joyless religion. They want freedom, they want to dance in the house of God, they want to express their faith, but nobody will let them do anything. So they take their inheritance of life that is promised through Jesus, and they go to a place where it is all about their own future and happiness.<\/p>\r\nA FAMINE IN THE LAND<\/span>\r\n

\\\"But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land\\\" <\/em> (Luke 15:14). When you live for yourself, it is an exhausting life. And eventually, you hit a wall. Dreams do not materialize; nothing satisfies. The verse continues, \\\"and he began to be in want\\\"<\/em> (15:14). Many Christians today are fed up being where they are. They are tired of the addiction, tired of running from relationship to relationship, tired of the endless pursuit and going nowhere in life.<\/p>\r\n

\\\"He went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine<\/em>\\\" (Luke 15:15). The last thing this young man should have been feeding was swine, for it was the most unclean thing to a child of God of that time. But he was in a field, feeding them or, in other words, allowing it to happen. This speaks to me of the kind of person who does not want to go back to what he left behind, so instead he becomes \\\"cause driven.\\\" A lot of young people today are cause driven, even if they are not sure what the cause is. They have a marginal understanding of what kind of society they are looking for. They are being driven by causes and slogans, and they begin feeding things that they should not be feeding\u2014anger and division.<\/p>\r\n

\\\"And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything<\/em>\\\" (Luke 15:16). This young man must have felt that he did not matter to anybody. Have you noticed today that everything matters? Everybody is holding up a sign that says this matters, that matters. But not once have I seen a sign that said, \\\"Christians matter.\\\" I am somewhat thankful for that because God is causing the world to reject us as believers. He will not allow us to find satisfaction in a place where we should not be.<\/p>\r\nAN EPIPHANY<\/span>\r\n

\\\"But when he came to himself...<\/em>\\\" (Luke 15:17). In other words, the prodigal had an epiphany, which was simply this: \\\"What am I doing here? I was created for something greater than this!\\\" My prayer is that many who have strayed from God\\'s heart will come to themselves and say, \\\"I am not created to do these things. I am not created to give my life wholly to some cause that is short-lived.\\\" It might even be a good cause, but it is short of what could be accomplished through their life. Remember, God can do something that is exceedingly above and beyond all that we can ask or think.<\/p>\r\n

\\\"He said, \\'How many of my father\\'s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, \\\"Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants\\\"\\'\\\"<\/em> (Luke 15:17\u201319). And so he got up and tried to figure out what he was supposed to say in order to be received back. The statement that came out of his mouth was very telling, because to \\\"sin against heaven\\\" means that in his heart he was thinking, \\\"I have lost my eternal reward.\\\" Not only that, a sense of shame filled his heart as he concluded he was no longer worthy to be called his father\\'s son. In other words, \\\"to come back to my father\\'s house means I will live in perpetual shame.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Many people who have wandered away from the kingdom of God feel that way about themselves. \\\"I would come back, but I have already blown it. I have lost the favor of God, and I am destined for a life of shame. Everyone else has a glorious victory story, but mine is such a disgrace that I am ashamed to open my mouth. So I will just hang my head, take up my broom, and work to regain some of God\\'s favor.\\\"<\/p>\r\nTHE COMPASSION OF THE FATHER<\/span>\r\n

\\\"And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him<\/em>\\\" (Luke 15:20). He did not see his father, his father saw him. Perhaps you do not have a clear view of God, but God has a clear view of you. This verse continues, \\\"...his father saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him<\/em>\\\" (Luke 15:20). Can you imagine what this boy felt like as he looked down the road and saw his father running toward him? At first, he was probably wondering if he was coming in anger. Maybe he was coming to yell, \\\"Don\\'t come near my house! You are such a disgrace; get away from here!\\\" How shocked he must have been when suddenly his father fell on his neck and kissed him!<\/p>\r\n

Remember, the boy had been in a field with pigs. When his father embraced him, he took the smell of his son upon himself. In other words, he was saying, \\\"I am not ashamed of you, son.\\\" Likewise, when Jesus went to the cross and opened His arms wide with those nails through His hands and feet, He took the smell of our sins upon Himself\u2014everything we have ever done, everything we are doing, everything we will ever do. If we find that we have strayed in any way from His heart, all He asks is that we get up and make our way back to Him. He will always come running toward us, ready to embrace us.<\/p>\r\nRESTORED TO ROYALTY<\/span>\r\n

I do not think the boy knew how to deal with his father\\'s reaction, because he started saying again, \\\"Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son<\/em>\\\" (Luke 15:21). But the first thing his father said was, \\\"Bring out the best robe and put it on him\\\"<\/em> (15:22). A robe is reserved for royalty, for an honored guest in the father\\'s house. When that robe was put on the son, he was completely covered. He no longer looked like somebody who had just climbed out of a pigsty. And in the kingdom of God, the Father covers anyone who comes to Him in the purest robe available\u2014the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.<\/p>\r\n

Then the father said, \\\"Put a ring on his hand\\\" <\/em>(Luke 15:22). This was a ring of authority that the father gave to those who were the most trusted in his house. Remember, the son thought, \\\"My father will never trust me again.\\\" Yet suddenly before he even had a chance to prove his worth, he was covered and trusted in the sight of his father. When the son put the seal of that ring on anything, it carried the weight and power of the father and his whole house behind it!<\/p>\r\n

And then to top it all off, the father said, \\\"[Put] sandals on his feet<\/em>\\\" (Luke 15:22). This is an interesting concept because usually in an encounter with God, such as the ones Moses and Joshua had, the command was, \\\"Take your shoes off of your feet\\\" (see Exodus 3:5, Joshua 5:15). In other words, God says to His people, \\\"I do not want your strength or your plans. I want you to walk humbly before Me and do what I tell you to do.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

But now you see the father has a son who has been broken, who knows what he is without his father. He understands grace. So now the father can say, \\\"Put his shoes on because he is not going to fight with me. He is not going to bring his own ideas into this kingdom. Now I can send him on a journey where he is going to be doing what he was destined to do. He is going to tell other people about the mercy and kindness of his father.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

And that is what our message is now. It is about God\\'s invitation through His Son, Jesus Christ, for everyone to come home. It is no more difficult than that. Jesus paid the full price for our sins on the cross. He calls us to Himself so that He can cover our wrongdoing, empower us to live a new life, and send us out with a message for others: \\\"My life was a mess; I had ruined everything. But I came home, and my Father ran to me. He kissed me, covered me, filled me with power, and invited me to tell others about His incredible kindness. You must meet my Father!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \\\"THE INCREDIBLE KINDNESS OF JESUS<\/strong>,\\\" a sermon given on August 11, 2020<\/strong>. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version\u00ae. Copyright \u00a9 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"3":{"sm_title":"Hear Him!","sm_id":"363","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2020-10","length_sec":"00","length_min":"00","sm_asx":"","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/07\/07t1\/20200707t1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"http:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/sermon-newsletter-202010-hear-him.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\\\"Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, \\'Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah\\'<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 17:1\u20134).<\/p>\r\n

Here we see humanity and divinity meeting together on a mountain where God was about to do something phenomenal. In our humanity, we will always gravitate to present or past experiences for our sense of comfort and well-being. Peter was a man who did just that, saying, \\\"It does not get any better than this. We have the Son of God here. We have Moses and Elijah. We are on a mountaintop and do not have to deal with the people all around us. This is a great place to camp. Let\\'s stay here forever!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

However, that was not what God was speaking. \\\"While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, \\'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!\\' And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid<\/em>\\\" (17:5\u20136). Now, this was not said for the benefit of Moses, Elijah or Jesus. God was telling Peter, James and John, \\\"Stop speaking, and start listening to the Son of God! He is going to lead you somewhere.\\\" In other words, your opinions do not lead into the supernatural; they do not bring deliverance to people who are hurting.<\/p>\r\n

All you can build is something that will ultimately become irrelevant if you are not willing to hear the Son of God. That is why many churches that once knew great moves of God are now irrelevant. We must move with the voice of God, not with what somebody spoke hundreds of years ago. We must remember that Jesus is calling us to follow Him rather than spending all our time seeking personal revelation, comfort, and spiritual experience.<\/p>\r\n

There is a whole segment of the Church today running from place to place just seeking some new experience. Their whole pursuit is a \\\"Mount of Transfiguration,\\\" and they want to camp there. However, the revelation of who Jesus Christ is ought to lead us to what He does. In Luke\\'s account of this event, he tells us that Moses and Elijah were discussing with Jesus what He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem\u2014that everything that was prefigured through the law and the prophets was about to be fulfilled at the cross. A Church was going to be born to go into all the world to preach this wonderful message of salvation through Christ.<\/p>\r\n

Jesus was leading these disciples somewhere, but they were so engrossed in their own ideas of what spiritual experience leads to that they could not hear Him. It was as if God had to override the whole thing, stop Peter in the middle of speaking, and declare, \\\"This is My Son. Hear Him!\\\"<\/p>\r\nFULL OF OUR OWN STRENGTH<\/span>\r\n

When the Lord speaks to each of the churches in the Book of Revelation, notice that He says, \\\"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.<\/em>\\\" I want a hearing ear; I want God to lead my life. Sure, I have had a wonderful past; in fact, it has been a miraculous journey. But I have learned that God is not interested in my ideas. If He is not leading, there is no power in it, and we are merely on our own with our little tabernacles on the top of the mountain, talking about our past spiritual experiences.<\/p>\r\n

We often cannot hear the Lord because, just as with Peter and the others, we are still leaning on our own strength and understanding. It is similar to the time when Jesus told Peter, \\\"Where I am going, you cannot follow Me.\\\" What was Peter\\'s response? \\\"Oh, yes, I will follow You. And if You go to Jerusalem to die, I will go and die with You. These others here may not have the courage to go, but I will not turn back!\\\" (see Matthew 26:33, 35). He was full of himself\u2014full of his own ideas and his own strength.<\/p>\r\n

Yet Jesus was trying to speak to him, saying, \\\"Peter, before the rooster crows, you are going to deny Me three times\\\" (see Matthew 26:34). But Peter could not hear it because he was still relying on his own strength and ideas. He did not understand that where Christ leads, we cannot follow without His strength. So, God had to bring Peter to the end of himself.<\/p>\r\n

He had to bring him to a place where he had nothing left to say. After he denied Jesus three times, all he could do was weep bitterly. All his boasting came to an end, and when it did, he could finally start to hear the voice of the Son of God.<\/p>\r\n

Perhaps your testimony today is that you have come to the end of yourself. Your ideas have come to nothing and you have run into the brick wall that all humanity runs into when we try to follow God in our own strength. Well, the good news is that the end of you is the beginning of God. Now you are ready to hear and to follow where God is leading you.<\/p>\r\nUNWILLING TO EMBRACE THE NEW<\/span>\r\n

There is another reason why many find it difficult to hear the Son of God: they are unwilling to put away old things and embrace what is new. The Bible tells us that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation; old things have passed away and all things are new (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). God is not just taking us out of where we used to be, He is bringing us into where He would have us to go. The Spirit of God begins to show us things to come. He starts speaking to us about what He has for us, not what we have for Him\u2014and there is a huge difference. In our humanity, we will make promises to God that we cannot fulfill.<\/p>\r\n

Finally, when we come to the end of that, suddenly God starts making promises to us. It is through these promises that we become everything He has called us to be. It starts with a willingness to put away old things\u2014for example, old comforts and old experiences. Yes, we can remember them, but we cannot camp there with them. Sometimes old friends have to be put away. A lot of people want the kingdom of God, but they want their old friends at the same time. Some want to keep those old relationships alive, that old romance with someone who is not a believer in Christ. Remember when the children of Israel came out of slavery in Egypt and suddenly, in the wilderness, they started remembering the fish and the leeks and garlic in Egypt (see Numbers 11:5). They somehow forgot that they were crying out to God in their bitter bondage!<\/p>\r\n

We are all prone to saying, \\\"It was so good back there, wasn\\'t it?\\\" We forget the depression, the addiction, the brokenness. And so we are unwilling to make the break. A lot of people want that little sip of something to make them feel good, or that little peek on the internet at things they should not be looking at\u2014and then they wonder why they cannot hear the voice of God.<\/p>\r\n

Sometimes we are unwilling to make the break from our past achievements. We want to sit in our office and gaze at all our certificates on the wall. Yet consider how the apostle Paul said, \\\"What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ<\/em>\\\" (Philippians 3:7). We must be willing to be led away from even good things. Remember, Peter had concluded, \\\"Lord, it is good for us to be here<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 17:4). Yet what God has for us is even better than what we declare to be good.<\/p>\r\nWHERE HE LEADS<\/span>\r\n

Last, just as happened with Jesus after the Mount of Transfiguration, we must be willing to be led from spiritual experience to spiritual need. Jesus could have stayed on the mountaintop with Moses and Elijah, with His Father speaking from heaven. He had a small entourage\u2014followers whom He could teach, and He could have stayed there forever. But He had a mission!<\/p>\r\n

Yes, the mountaintop offered this wonderful spiritual experience. But at the bottom of the mountain was a father crying out for his demon-possessed child who was being destroyed by the powers that had hold of him. Consider what is happening to our children\u2014the unbridled passion, the unmitigated confusion, the sense of hopelessness and anger that is consuming this present generation. You and I can live our Christian life just talking about old experiences, or we can follow Jesus down the mountain to where human need really is.<\/p>\r\n

That is exactly what happened in Acts chapter two. The disciples were in the Upper Room having a marvelous experience. The Spirit of God filled every one of them, and they were given this explosive ability to communicate with people of other cultures and other languages. They could have just stayed there and spoken in tongues for the next five years.<\/p>\r\n

However, they were led by the voice of God to spiritual need. Just outside, there were thousands of people coming from the temple, making great journeys to get there. Worshiping God in the best way they knew how, they remained deficient and short of redemption through the Son of God. The disciples heard the voice of God leading them out of their wonderful spiritual experience right into a morass of spiritual need. That is how the Church was born, and that is how she was led all the way through the Book of Acts.<\/p>\r\n

The best thing that could ever happen to you and me, as well as to this present generation, is that we learn to hear the voice of God once again. If you are broken, if you feel like a failure, if you are wounded, if you feel destroyed\u2014you are the perfect candidate to be used by God! Get up from where you are and start to walk with Him. Walk toward not just the healing that you need, but also walk toward the healing that somebody else needs.<\/p>\r\n

You do not have to have it all together to tell somebody else that God is good, and that Jesus died for them. All you need is to be willing to go where Jesus is leading you. You have a choice now. You can camp on an old experience and die there\u2014yes, you will get to heaven, but you will spiritually die in that old experience. Or you can just leave it and go where God is leading you.<\/p>\r\n

If you are willing to hear Him, you will be amazed at what He will do. He will give you light in darkness, water in seasons of drought, strength when strength is failing all around you. And you will be a part of God\\'s answer to the great mountain of spiritual need we see in this generation!<\/p>\r\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \\\"HEAR HIM!<\/strong>,\\\" a sermon given on July 7, 2020<\/strong>. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version\u00ae. Copyright \u00a9 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"4":{"sm_title":"How Will You Wake Up Tomorrow?","sm_id":"361","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2020-09","length_sec":"00","length_min":"00","sm_asx":"","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/06\/09t1\/20200609t1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"http:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/sermon-newsletter-202009-how-will-you-wake-up-tomorrow.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

I have two questions for you: How did you wake up today? How will you wake up tomorrow?<\/p>\r\n

The Bible tells of a time when the people of God woke up in the morning and discovered that \\\"the enemy that was against them had come by night with a great army and surrounded the city\\\" (see 2 Kings 6:14). Have you ever experienced that? You wake up and find yourself surrounded\u2014by your struggles, your trials, perhaps an illness in your body. You may even feel as though you are being taunted by the voices of the enemy all around you.<\/p>\r\n

In this particular scenario, a servant of the prophet Elisha got up early and found the army surrounding them. \\\"His servant said to him, \\'Alas, my master! What shall we do?\\' So he answered, \\'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.\\' And Elisha prayed, and said, \\'Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.\\' Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha<\/em>\\\" (2 Kings 6:15\u201317).<\/p>\r\n

Here we see two types of men waking up at the same time. Now both are followers of God. Elisha is called into a specific ministry, and so is his servant. If you were to ask the servant, \\\"Are you a follower of Jehovah God?\\\" he would answer, \\\"Absolutely. I am Elisha\\'s servant. If he goes somewhere, I go with him. I am pursuing the same God he is.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

The problem is that although this servant was a follower of God, he had little to no spiritual vision. There are a lot of people like that in the Church of Jesus Christ. They are followers of God, they go to church, they go where the servants of God go. They do the things they are asked to do, yet they have little or no spiritual vision. When the enemy comes in, just as in this case, their very first response is, \\\"What shall we do?\\\" God is not even in the equation. In other words, \\\"Something has to be done, and it has to be done by us.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

The New Testament calls this type of man a natural man. Yes, he has come to salvation through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Yet, just like Elisha\\'s servant, he sees with his natural eye and pushes forward with his natural strength and reasoning. He remains outside of where the power and the wonder of God are.<\/p>\r\n

I don\\'t want to live there. I never wanted to live there. Right from the beginning, I said, \\\"God, I see something in Your Word. You operate in a kingdom that cannot be seen with the natural eye and sometimes cannot be comprehended with the natural mind. It cannot be attained with natural ability. You invite us into this kingdom by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. You give us Your Holy Spirit to take the victory You won and show us what we have inherited.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

This is important because we are in a battle now for the very soul of our nation. We are in a battle for the testimony of God in our generation, and we are not going to be able to reason our way through this. It requires a supernatural victory that can only come by the hand of God.<\/p>\r\n

The book of First Corinthians says it this way: \\\"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God... But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned<\/em>\\\" (1 Corinthians 2:12, 14). In other words, the man who lives by his own strength and reasoning cannot know the things of the kingdom of God. He will always live in a realm of \\\"What shall we do? What can we do?\\\" It will always be that reasoning.<\/p>\r\nBECOMING AS LITTLE CHILDREN<\/span>\r\n

The book of John gives us another picture of how the kingdom of God works. \\\"Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, \\'Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?\\' But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do<\/em>\\\" (John 6:5\u20136).<\/p>\r\n

Jesus saw a great multitude\u2014a great need that He knew could not be met through human resource. And so He tested a man who had been walking with Him for a season. Now Philip should have known better. The disciples knew Jesus could do miracles. Yet immediately, Philip resorted to his natural understanding and said, \\\"Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little\\\" (John 6:7). When you do not have the strength to meet the need that is before you, have you ever considered that God might be testing you to see if you are willing to look away from your own resources? Are you willing to look away from your own ideas about how to achieve your desired end?<\/p>\r\n

\\\"Andrew, Simon Peter\\'s brother, said to Him, \\'There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?\\' Then Jesus said, \\'Make the people sit down.\\' Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted<\/em>\\\" (John 6:8\u201311). You see, the kingdom of God operates through faith. Jesus knew what he was going to do, and He knew who His partner was going to be in doing it. A little boy with five loaves and two small fish pressed through the crowd and presented his lunch to one of the disciples. I can imagine him saying, \\\"This should do it. Between me and Jesus, we can feed this crowd!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

I have grandchildren, and that is the way they are. They do not see impossibility. They do not get up in the morning and look at the size of the problem. If Papa tells them, \\\"It\\'s all going to be okay,\\\" then in their minds, it\\'s all going to be okay. They do not have to figure it out. If I tell them we are going to get ice cream today at five o\\'clock, they know they are going to get from where they are to the ice cream shop even though they cannot drive a car. They do not have to know how it\\'s going to happen, they just need to know that Papa told them it is going to be done.<\/p>\r\n

Jesus Himself said, \\\"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 18:3). Now, He is not talking about salvation. He is talking about entering into a place of God\\'s power and wonderment\u2014this kingdom that starts with just a small seed but grows into something that can provide for multitudes. Unless you become converted and become as little children, you will wake up in the morning just like Elisha\\'s servant. It does not mean that heaven is not your home. It means that while you live on the earth, you will live outside of this place of the miraculous. You will be part of that crowd that gets up in the morning and says, \\\"Alas, master, what shall we do?<\/em>\\\"<\/p>\r\nTHREE SIMPLE PRAYERS<\/span>\r\n

Now Elisha\\'s response to his servant\\'s question was quite simple. He said, \\\"Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see<\/em>\\\" (2 Kings 6:17). The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. His eyes were suddenly open to a whole kingdom and power he had been unaware of.<\/p>\r\n

Then he saw Elisha pray two more simple prayers. The first: \\\"Strike them with blindness\\\" (see 2 Kings 6:18). In other words, do not let the enemy achieve their desired end of trying to captivate Your testimony. You and I should pray this again in our generation as darkness attempts to take away the testimony of Christ, redefining good as evil and evil as good.<\/p>\r\n

Elisha then said to this foreign army, \\\"Come, follow me,<\/em>\\\" and he led them right into the midst of Samaria (2 Kings 6:19). A whole army was taken captive by a praying man! Then Elisha prayed one more prayer: \\\"Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see<\/em>\\\" (6:20). In other words, open the eyes of our enemies and give them spiritual sight to see that there is a kingdom bigger than theirs.<\/p>\r\n

When the king of Israel asked, \\\"Shall I smite them?\\\" Elisha replied, \\\"You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master<\/em>\\\" (2 Kings 6:22). In other words, \\\"Show them that there is a God much greater than anything they have ever understood.\\\" And so he had them sit down at the table for a great feast. Then he sent them home, and the Scripture says they never came back again. Nobody wanted to fight that kind of battle!<\/p>\r\nSPIRITUAL EYES<\/span>\r\n

Think about how Elisha\\'s servant got up in the morning and, in the space of just a few short hours, saw something that he had never seen before. How do you think he woke up the next morning? \\\"God, show me those chariots again. Show me the soldiers of heaven again. Help me to pray like Elisha. Help me never to trust what I see with my natural eyes or think with my natural mind. Help me never to lean on what I can come up with in my natural strength. You have shown me Your power, so do not let me settle for less!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Perhaps you woke up this morning like Elisha\\'s servant and essentially said, \\\"Alas, master, what shall we do?<\/em>\\\" Maybe you got up and spoke to your spouse or to your mom or dad and said, \\\"What are we going to do? We have to do something.\\\" Your whole life has been stuck in this narrow corridor of human effort and human reasoning.<\/p>\r\n

My prayer is that God will open the eyes of His people one more time. We have lived in the natural for too long. We have strategized ourselves into spiritual impotence. Now we find ourselves surrounded by enemies who are hellbent on stamping out the testimony of Christ in this generation. We must have our spiritual eyes open. We must have that faith of a child that says, \\\"God is much bigger than me. God has a great plan. God is my Father. God can be trusted. God\\'s ways are not my ways.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

I am praying that tomorrow you will wake up and instead of asking \\\"What shall we do?\\\" you will say, \\\"God is with me.\\\" Your circumstances may not have changed, but you will have light in your eyes and joy in your heart. You be able to confidently say, \\\"I do not have to understand everything. My enemies can bark over the wall all they want, but God has promised to keep me. God has sealed me in His hand, and no one can take me out of that hand. God has promised that He is going to bring me to a desired end!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \u201cHOW WILL YOU WAKE UP TOMORROW?<\/strong>,\u201d a sermon given on June 9, 2020<\/strong>. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version\u00ae. Copyright \u00a9 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"5":{"sm_title":"The Joy of Asking","sm_id":"359","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"\/files\/\/files\/49701_jb_20200308.jpg","sm_date":"2020-08","length_sec":"00","length_min":"00","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/03\/08s1\/20200308s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/03\/08s1\/20200308s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"NaLUzEouoa4","sm_pdf":"http:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/sermon-newsletter-20200-the-joy-of-asking.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\\\"Until now you have asked nothing in My name<\/em>\\\" (John 16:24). Interestingly, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples who, by this point, had walked with Him for quite some time. Without a doubt they had asked a lot of questions along the way, just as you and I do in our Christian walk. Yet suddenly He made this statement, and then He added, \\\"Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full<\/em>.\\\" In other words, \\\"There is a joy that you have not entered into yet. You have a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience and you have witnessed things that other people have never seen. But you have not really been a partaker of something I want to give you now. If you will open your heart to it, it will bring you into a place of joy.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Isn\\'t that amazing? The asking brings joy\u2014not just a partial joy, but a full joy! Certainly, we ought to discover what Jesus meant by asking in His name. But first, let\\'s take a look in the book of John to see some of the things His disciples had already asked, for it is likely that you and I have had similar questions along our journey with Him.<\/p>\r\nTHE QUESTIONS THEY ASKED<\/span>\r\n

In John 1:38, Peter\\'s brother, Andrew, and some others started following Jesus. When Jesus turned around and asked what they were seeking, they asked Him, \\\"Where are you staying?<\/em>\\\" In other words, \\\"We are willing to come to Your house and hear what You have to say to us.\\\" They felt they had found a teacher worth following. That is where it all began for most of us, as well. Before I was a believer in Christ, I remember sitting in the back of a church saying aloud, \\\"If You are real, I wouldn\\'t mind knowing who You are.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

As the disciples journeyed on with Jesus, they began to realize that He had a source of nourishment they did not understand yet. \\\"His disciples urged Him, saying, \\'Rabbi, eat.\\' But He said to them, \\'I have food to eat of which you do not know.\\' Therefore the disciples said to one another, \\'Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?\\' Jesus said to them, \\'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, \\\"There are still four months and then comes the harvest\\\"? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!\\'<\/em>\\\" (John 4:31\u201335).<\/p>\r\n

Jesus was explaining that there was nourishment available for them, but the implication was that they had to go into the harvest to get it. You can get knowledge by sitting in church, which is wonderful, but this nourishment\u2014this ability that is God-given; the strength that comes only from the Holy Spirit\u2014does not come until you start to walk into the work of God.<\/p>\r\n

The disciples later discovered that Jesus\\' words had limitless power to heal. A nobleman came and said, \\\"My son is at home and he\\'s at the point of death. Will you come and heal him?\\\" (see John 4:49). Jesus did not go to the man\\'s house or even to the man\\'s town. He simply said, \\\"Go your way; your son lives<\/em>\\\" (John 4:50). There was no limitation by distance; He spoke and it was done! Can you imagine the questions that the disciples must have had in their hearts: \\\"What kind of man is this?\\\" It was probably similar to the time they were in a boat during a storm, and Jesus stood up to rebuke the wind and the sea. They then asked one another, \\\"What kind of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey Him?\\\" (see Matthew 8:27).<\/p>\r\n

In John 6:53, Jesus declared, \\\"Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.<\/em>\\\" In other words, \\\"There is something of Me that you need in order to truly have life.\\\" The majority of His disciples at that time turned and walked away, concluding, \\\"This is too hard.\\\" It is the same way in the Christian Church today. People walk with Jesus, assuming that the Christian life is simply supposed to make them healthy, wealthy and wise. And then when the trials come, they conclude, \\\"This is not what I signed up for. It\\'s too hard.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Jesus turned to His twelve disciples and asked if they were going to leave as well. Peter responded with the question: \\\"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life<\/em>\\\" (John 6:68). In other words, \\\"We are staying because we know You have the words of eternal life\u2014not because we understand it, and not because we feel we can do it. We do not know where else to go.\\\" There comes a point in every Christian\\'s life when we make the choice to keep walking with Jesus\u2014not because we understand everything but because we know that He is the source of life, and He is leading us on a pathway of eternal value.<\/p>\r\n

Later, Jesus tells His disciples, \\\"Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward<\/em>\\\" (John 13:36). Peter then asks Jesus, \\\"Lord, why can I not follow You now?<\/em>\\\" (verse 37). And Thomas asks, \\\"You tell us to follow You, but we don\\'t even know where You are going! How can we know the way?\\\" (see 14:5). Similarly, you and I have had times when we ask, \\\"God, what is it that You want from my life? How am I supposed to know the way? I have walked with You, I have studied Your Word, I have seen Your power. Now You are calling me to follow You, but I do not even know where You are going! How am I supposed to do that?\\\"<\/p>\r\nI WILL SHOW MYSELF THROUGH YOU<\/span>\r\n

In John 14:22, Judas (not Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him) had another question: \\\"Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?<\/em>\\\" And so we come to the most pivotal question of all: \\\"Why are You showing all of this only to us?\\\" We could ask that today as well: \\\"God, why are You speaking all of these things to us? Why are You sending us Your Word when You have the power to send it to the whole world?\\\"<\/p>\r\n

This is where it gets interesting because Jesus essentially answers, \\\"I am going to show Myself to the world through you, that\\'s why.\\\" That is the plan of God\u2014there is no plan B. You might ask, \\\"Well, how in the world is that going to happen? I spend my day just trying to survive. I spend my time trying not to curse those who curse me. I work two jobs to feed my kids and keep the bills paid, and You are going to show Yourself to the world through me? How is that going to happen?\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Jesus tried to explain to the disciples: \\\"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you<\/em>\\\" (John 16:12\u201315).<\/p>\r\n

Here is the point that Jesus was making: \\\"You cannot bear it because I am going to the cross. I am going to take all captivity captive; I am going to pay the price for your sins so that you no longer have to be separated from God. I am going to purchase for you a new life\u2014something that will make you a wonder to the people of this world. The Holy Spirit is going to dwell in you and show you the things that I have bought for you on the cross.\\\"<\/p>\r\nA DIFFERENT KIND OF ASKING<\/span>\r\n

Jesus goes on to introduce a different kind of asking. \\\"A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father...Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. And in that day you will ask Me nothing<\/em>\\\" (John 16:16, 22\u201323). He is talking to His disciples about the day when He is raised from the dead; when the debt has been paid; when the power of the Holy Spirit has come; when this new life that is promised us in Christ becomes ours. In other words, \\\"You will not need to ask all these former questions anymore. They will all be answered.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

\\\"Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you<\/em>\\\" (John 16:23). Now the question is, do you believe that? If you truly believed it, you would pray first thing in the morning. You would pray at noon. You would pray at night. Of course, He is not talking about asking for a Porsche. He is speaking in the context of His manifesting Himself to the world through us. He is talking about asking for the power to be yielded for the sake of the lost, given for the sake of other people. He is speaking about asking for the power to serve, the power to love when others do not love us.<\/p>\r\n

\\\"Whatever we ask the Father in Jesus\\' name.\\\" This is available to people like you and me who say, \\\"God, I want the power to live my life for the sake of other people. I recognize the limitations of my physical body, of my natural mind, my natural heart. I recognize that I do not have the strength to go where You are calling me, but in the strength of Your victory, You are going to make me into another person. You are going to bring glory to Your own name through me. I am asking that You cause my life to make a difference for Your kingdom\\'s sake!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

\\\"Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full<\/em>\\\" (John 16:24). And so we begin to understand that in order to experience this fullness of joy, there must be a shifting of focus. The joy must not be about ourselves anymore but rather about others. The joy is that I see people coming to Christ; the joy is that even enemies are finding forgiveness from God. It is not just about getting happy, it is that joy that is in heaven over every sinner who comes to Christ. It is that joy that the angels know around the throne of God. However, it does not come until we are surrendered.<\/p>\r\nFOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS<\/span>\r\n

As society is perishing around us, it is becoming more apparent that it is time to ask. It is time that we rise up out of infancy and, as mature sons and daughters, say, \\\"Lord, I understand now that I cannot follow where You are going in my own strength. I am asking for Your Holy Spirit.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Remember that before Pentecost, the disciples all knew they had no power to go forward. But when God\\'s Holy Spirit came, they burst out of the upper room and started speaking about the things that God was going to do. In the first day alone, three thousand people bent their knee to Christ!<\/p>\r\n

And so, my prayer for my own heart as well as for the Body of Christ is that God would give us the courage to ask in Jesus\\' name. Start by asking for a life that is yielded for the sake of others. Don\\'t forget that the Lord is delighted to give us all we need in order to make a difference in this generation. And when you discover that your heart is changing and giftings are starting to abound in your life\u2014when you find yourself speaking things that you never thought you would say and doing things you know you are not capable of doing on your own\u2014suddenly you will enter a joy that words cannot even begin to describe. It is the indescribable joy of being given for the sake of others!<\/p>\r\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \\\"THE JOY OF ASKING<\/strong>,\\\" a sermon given on March 8, 2020<\/strong>. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version\u00ae. Copyright \u00a9 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"6":{"sm_title":"All Things","sm_id":"357","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2020-07","length_sec":"00","length_min":"00","sm_asx":"","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/05\/19t1\/20200519t1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"http:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/sermon-newsletter-202007-all-things.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\\\"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose\\\"<\/em> (Romans 8:28). That means that everything God allows into our lives has a divine purpose. God puts it there for a reason because He is conforming us to the image of His Son. He is leading us on a pathway that will bring His name glory through our lives.<\/p>\r\n

Keep in mind that the apostle Paul wrote these words as a man who had been shipwrecked, stoned, and betrayed. He had been in perils among brothers and perils among those who hated him. When you look at his life, it is very hard for anybody alive today to say, \\\"Well, my life has had a more difficult trajectory than Paul\\'s.\\\" And yet, after all the things he suffered, he was able to write that all things work together for good. In other words, \\\"Everything that God allowed into my life had a divine purpose\u2014whether I understood it or not. God was doing something in me. He was bringing me to a specific place. He was teaching me specific truths that I might not have learned otherwise.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Quite often, we spend our days trying to get out of \\\"all things.\\\" This is what our prayer life is all about. \\\"God, get me out of this, and I will love You. Deliver me from this, and I will serve You.\\\" Many times our focus is about getting out of the very things that God is allowing in order to form His character and His purposes in our lives. So instead of praying, \\\"God, get me out,\\\" we should pray, \\\"Lord, what are You teaching me? What is it that You are producing in my character that could not come any other way?\\\"<\/p>\r\nIS THIS REALLY NECESSARY?<\/span>\r\n

Romans 8:28 has been the verse that has kept me all the years of my Christian life\u2014through flood, fire, trial, difficulty, hardship, blessing. All the things that God has allowed have been for divine reasons. Sometimes I understood them and sometimes I did not until the worst of it was over in my life.<\/p>\r\n

When I came to New York in 1994, we moved into a house in New Jersey. We had no idea that the house we moved into was infested with toxic mold. By the time it was discovered in 2001, the mold was so thick that those who inspected the house condemned and quarantined it on the spot. The whole attic was so filled with toxic black mold that no visible wood was left. It scarred my bronchial tubes, which is why I still cough a lot today.<\/p>\r\n

At the time, we were also fighting against a terrible onslaught in New York City. I stood with Pastor David Wilkerson, fighting to have the church go forward. I gave my all, but I kept getting sicker and sicker, to the point where I could hardly breathe. The headaches were extremely bad, and my energy level was almost at zero. I could sleep for eight hours, get up in the morning, and feel like I had not slept at all. I could barely stay awake and could hardly breathe. One day, I was walking down Eighth Avenue in New York City, and I was to the point where I could see black flecks floating in front of my eyes. Also, I was always on the verge of passing out. Suddenly, in frustration, I said out loud on the street, \\\"Oh, God, is this really necessary?\\\"<\/p>\r\n

I was so surprised to hear God\\'s reply: \\\"It is. It is very necessary in your life.\\\" And suddenly, out of nowhere, verses from Psalm 119 came into my mind. The psalmist says, \\\"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word\\\" <\/em>(verse 67). And \\\"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes\\\" <\/em> (verse 71). And \\\"I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me\\\" <\/em>(verse 75). God had allowed these things for a divine purpose!<\/p>\r\n

God could have kept us from moving into that house, but here is what He said to me on Eighth Avenue that night: \\\"You have a very strong will. I am going to teach you how to be dependent on Me.\\\" He did. I needed Christ every moment of every hour of every day because my own strength was gone. The Lord began to teach me how to hear His voice. He taught me that if He was not leading, I ought not to go there. I could not accept just any invitation to go anywhere and speak because if it was not the Holy Spirit leading me, it could take a week or two to recover physically when I got back. However, when the Spirit was leading, I would come back stronger than when I went out.<\/p>\r\n

I was learning to be governed by the voice of God rather than by good ideas. At that time, I had no idea that I would be the next Senior Pastor of Times Square Church. I was only there to help this man of God for as long as he needed me. I did not know that God had another plan\u2014and that in faithfulness, He had afflicted me in order to work out that plan in my life.<\/p>\r\nBORN OUT OF AFFLICTION<\/span>\r\n

I remember, during the worst part of this affliction, I had an oxygen tank on wheels that I had to pull around the apartment with me. Every morning, I had to wear a mask and breathe pure oxygen for 15 minutes to clear out the phlegm in my chest and help alleviate the massive headaches I woke up with. I had to do this before I could even read my Bible. There were mornings when despair just wanted to eat at my heart. I wondered, \\\"Oh, God, are You ever going to heal me? Could any good ever come from this?\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Some mornings I was so down that I would take my pen and just start writing poems, many of which eventually became songs. You see, I had made a choice to declare God to be faithful in the midst of my affliction. David Wilkerson insisted the songs be put on a CD, which is titled \\\"Quiet Times,\\\" and most of the songs were written during this time of affliction. It sold more than 40,000 copies in its first run, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for missions all around the world.<\/p>\r\n

One particular morning, I sat down and wrote a poem which later became a song called, \\\"If You\\'ve Lost Your Heaven\\'s Song.\\\" The first verse says: \\\"If you\\'ve lost your heaven\\'s song, it\\'s so hard to carry on when tomorrow looks as sad as yesterday. Just remember Jesus came, and He keeps singing just the same if you will listen, when you go to Him and pray.\\\" And the chorus goes: \\\"When Jesus came to live in you, He carried heaven\\'s sweetest tune with words, \\'I love you. And forever I will stay.\\' When days are cold and darkness strong, things might seem lost, but not for long. His song within you cannot ever pass away. His song within you cannot ever pass away.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

I received the most beautiful letter a couple of years after the CD was initially produced. A pastor\\'s wife wrote to tell me that one day her husband came home and said, \\\"I want out of this marriage. I want to live a new life. And as far as I\\'m concerned, our marriage is finished.\\\" She was devastated. She rented a hotel room and then went to the pharmacy to get the prescription pills she needed to commit suicide. Then she got in her car, intending to return to the hotel and take her life.<\/p>\r\n

A copy of \\\"Quiet Times\\\" was in the CD player, and \\\"If You\\'ve Lost Your Heaven\\'s Song\\\" was playing when she turned the car on. She started listening to the song and later wrote to me that she drove for three days. I assume she would stay in the hotel at night, but in the daytime, she would just drive around. She wrote, \\\"I put your CD on repeat and listened to this same song over and over again. It brought me back to the faith of my childhood\u2014when I first received Christ, when I walked with God. I remembered how faithful God has been to me and how He won\\'t forsake me in my affliction. And after three days of driving around, knowing that my marriage was finished, I just decided to go home and live.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

When she got back home, she went into her house and found her husband, sick at heart, sick in his spirit. He said to her, \\\"Oh, honey, I\\'m so sorry. I don\\'t know what came over me. I don\\'t know what I was thinking. I made such a mistake, and I\\'ve been such a fool. I love you. I believe that God is going to work out our marriage.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

To prevent a woman from committing suicide, God had to allow affliction in another man\\'s life in a city far away, sit him in his office with an oxygen mask on his face, put a pen in his hand, and inspire him write the words to a song. I know all things work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose!<\/p>\r\nREALIZE THERE IS A PURPOSE<\/span>\r\n

Perhaps today you are depressed in your mind, or you do not know how you are going to pay your rent and feed your kids. You do not know how you will ever be sane again. I want to remind you that God will be faithful to you. However, you must make a choice now either to believe that all things are working together for God\\'s good purpose in your life, or they are not. It cannot be just some things. It has to be all things\u2014the things that you like and the things you don\\'t like; the things you understand and the things you don\\'t understand; the things you would love to come your way and the things that you wish would be gone\u2014all of these things are working together for a divine purpose that God has ordained for your life.<\/p>\r\n

This valley of the shadow of death will last only for a season. Part of the victory is finally coming to the realization, \\\"Lord, You put me on this job for a reason. You put me in this marriage for a reason. You gave me these children for a reason. I live in this apartment for a reason. And if I have an affliction in my physical body, there has to be a reason for it that maybe I do not yet fully understand.\\\"<\/p>\r\n

Yes, there is a purpose. Paul learned to believe this. As a matter of fact, he got to the point where he was able to write in his epistles, \\\"When I am weak, then I am strong\\\" <\/em>(2 Corinthians 12:10). He believed that even though he was confined to a jail cell at the end of his life, \\\"All things work together for good, even if all I can do is write some letters to some of my friends.\\\" He did not know he was writing to hundreds of millions of people over thousands of years\u2014that his letters to his friends were going to be the doctrinal basis for much of our practice of faith in Christ.<\/p>\r\n

So I encourage you\u2014do not just pray to get out of where you are right now. Pray to learn the lesson that needs to be learned. Pray that when you do come out on the other side of the valley of the shadow of death, you will be able to say, \\\"I have learned in whatever state I am to be content. I have learned that nothing can separate me from the love of God, which is mine in Christ Jesus. I have learned that God has a purpose beyond my understanding. I have learned to trust Him that somehow, some good is going to come out of it\u2014so much more than I can ever think or imagine!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \\\"ALL THINGS<\/strong>,\\\" a sermon given on May 19, 2020<\/strong>. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version(\u00ae). Copyright (\u00a9) 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"7":{"sm_title":"When the End Comes, Where Will You Be?","sm_id":"355","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"\/files\/\/files\/\/files\/\/files\/49697_jb_20200301.jpg","sm_date":"2020-06","length_sec":"00","length_min":"00","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/03\/01s1\/20200301s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/03\/01s1\/20200301s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"azdQSfGvGzA","sm_pdf":"http:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/sermon-newsletter-202006-when-the-end-comes-where-will-you-be.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

In the book of First Thessalonians, the apostle Paul exhorted the early Church about the day that is now coming upon us\u2014the day of Christ\\'s return. \\\"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night<\/em>\\\" (1 Thessalonians 5:1\u20132). The day of Christ\\'s physical return to the earth will be preceded by the rapture\u2014His coming to gather His Church to Him. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead in Christ are going to rise, and then we who are alive and remain shall be gathered together with them. Imagine how lost you would feel if you did not know Christ as Savior at that moment and suddenly all the believers disappeared!<\/p>\r\n

\\\"For when they say, \\'Peace and safety!\\' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief<\/em>\\\" (1 Thessalonians 5:3\u20135). Jesus Himself once said, \\\"If the man in charge of the house had been aware that a thief was in the neighborhood, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into\\\" (see Matthew 24:43). Likewise, if there was a thief in your neighborhood who was striking every night, wouldn\\'t you do something to protect your house or your apartment? Wouldn\\'t you examine the windows and the doors to make sure everything was secure?<\/p>\r\n

Now, in the context of the last days, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19, \\\"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?<\/em>\\\" He put it more simply in 1 Corinthians 3:9: \\\"You are God\\'s building.<\/em>\\\" Therefore, which house is the thief trying to break into? You are the house! You are the temple of God\u2014the place of God\\'s dwelling. You are the one called to bring glory to the Lord because of the light and life that is inside of your earthen vessel. Meanwhile, the devil will do everything in his power to break in during this darkened hour in which we live. So what are some specific things we should be watching for?<\/p>\r\nTHE END OF THE AGE<\/span>\r\n

To help answer that question, let\\'s see what happened when Jesus\\' disciples asked Him, \\\"What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 24:3). In other words, \\\"What will the spiritual temperature be? What will be happening?\\\" Jesus began His reply by saying, \\\"Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, \\'I am the Christ,\\' and will deceive many<\/em>\\\" (24:4\u20135).<\/p>\r\n

He was warning them that in the last days, the devil will do everything he can to \\\"break into\\\" the people of God. False messiahs will arise who will stand up and say, \\\"Yes, the Holy Spirit is leading me. If you look at my life, you will see what Jesus looks like.\\\" They will claim to have the words and the way to go forward into security, and they will deceive many.<\/p>\r\n

So how do you discern the difference between what is being animated by the Spirit of God and what the devil is animating as an imitation of God? There are several references in the Old Testament to Satan and his ways of thinking. For instance, the prophet Isaiah said, \\\"How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: \\'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.\\' Yet you shall be brought down to [hell], to the lowest depths of the Pit<\/em>\\\" (Isaiah 14:12\u201315). Simply put, Satan\\'s theology focuses on self. In contrast, the theology of Christ focuses on others. For example, you may be listening to a preacher who is telling you, \\\"You are not the tail, you are the head. You will sit in places of prominence in society. You will always be healthy and rich, and trouble will never come to your door. You will be known among people everywhere you travel, and you will be like the Most High\\\"\u2014and that is all his message is. If this is true, it is inspired by darkness.<\/p>\r\n

Of course, I understand there are moments when we have to say, \\\"God, I need this,\\\" or \\\"I need to be free.\\\" However, when we come to maturity in Christ, the focus shifts to, \\\"Not my will, but Yours, be done<\/em>\\\" (Luke 22:42). In other words, \\\"God, use my life for the sake of those who do not know You\u2014for those who are going into a Christless eternity.\\\" The focus of Christ is always about others. That is why Jesus said, \\\"If any man does not take up his cross, he cannot be My disciple\\\" (see Matthew 16:24). Any gospel that causes you to focus solely on yourself is from hell itself.<\/p>\r\nOTHER SIGNS OF HIS COMING<\/span>\r\n

Jesus continued, \\\"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 24:6). In other words, there will be an increase of angry speech. Nations will start threatening other nations, ideologies will start threatening other ideologies. As a matter of fact, we are already seeing this in our own society here in America.<\/p>\r\n

\\\"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 24:7). In the last days, the world will not just speak about violence but will actually turn to violence. There will be famines, earthquakes, new diseases coming into the world. And here we are facing the coronavirus now in our own society.<\/p>\r\n

\\\"All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name\\'s sake<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 24:8\u20139). This is already happening in China and various other places throughout the world. What started as a marginal tolerance of Christianity has now turned to intolerance and even violence in many places. Perhaps you have already been experiencing it in the workplace or in your community. It seems one cannot have a biblical opinion anymore without being vilified or deemed a hater and a divider.<\/p>\r\n

\\\"And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 24:10). Paul also warned us that before the return of Christ, there would be a great falling away (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3). There will be people who will conclude, \\\"I did not sign up for this. When I came to Christ, I was told I was going to be healthy, happy and rich. I was going to have a big house, a nice car, the best spouse, a great family. I didn\\'t sign up to be hated. I didn\\'t sign up to be part of a religion that society does not endorse!\\\" And so many will be offended. \\\"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 24:12). Mankind will descend into a depravity perhaps unseen in the history of the world. It will sweep the world in lawlessness and immorality.<\/p>\r\nA VICTORIOUS CHURCH<\/span>\r\n

However, here is the good news: \\\"But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come<\/em>\\\" (Matthew 24:13\u201314). There will be a victorious Church in the last days. There will be a people of God empowered by the Holy Spirit. They will be given supernatural ability to stand and there will be power in their speech. They will have a love that will cast out all fear.<\/p>\r\n

Yes, multitudes will be descending into darkness. And, sadly, there will be multitudes of formerly professing believers who will be following them. But thank God, there will be a victorious Church as well as an incredible harvest of souls in these last days. God will empower His Church to continue loving when the love of many grows cold. She will be empowered to keep on giving when selfishness is abounding and countries are fighting over resources. While everyone else is pointing the finger, there will be people committed to pointing the way to eternal life. Their lamps will be filled with light to help those who are trying to escape the darkness. Lastly, God will have a Church empowered by the Holy Spirit to have hearts filled with praise even when the joy of the land is gone.<\/p>\r\nIS YOUR HOUSE READY?<\/span>\r\n

And so the question I ask you today is: When the end comes, where will you be? Are you certain that you will you be part of this victorious last-days Church? I suggest that it is time for you to do a security evaluation of your house. Do you have the motion sensors working to detect prowlers? You cannot have them if you are not in the Word of God. You will not know when somebody who is not truly representing Christ has suddenly come to your ears\u2014whether in a church service, on a podcast, or through some other means. Remember, if the message you hear is not leading you to a lifestyle of being yielded for the sake of others, then your motion sensors should go off. You might have a prowler outside your house.<\/p>\r\n

Are your doors locked? Are you letting anything into your dwelling that should not be there? Is anybody sitting at the table who does not belong inside your house? Are you reading something that you should not be reading? King David once said, \\\"I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away<\/em>\\\" (Psalm 101:3). You need to make sure, for you cannot play games with this one. You cannot live in duplicity and assume you will suddenly have the strength to stand in the coming days. You do not know what tomorrow is going to bring; you do not know the severity of what is coming upon our world. In fact, you do not even know for sure if you will still be alive in a month.<\/p>\r\n

And so, are you ready? Is your house ready? Have you trusted God for the strength, the power, and the giftings of God to live for His glory? Are you able to praise Him in the midst of your darkness? Are you looking every day for somebody, somewhere\u2014some need that God can meet through you? We are living in the last days\u2014Christ is coming! Let us pray, \\\"Lord, prepare me. Give me the character I need, and give me power. Give me everything I need of Your Spirit\u2014not for myself, but for the sake of Your glory first and for the sake of others second. Pour out Your life through me and give me a song that this world cannot take away!\\\"<\/p>\r\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \\\"WHEN THE END COMES, WHERE WILL YOU BE?<\/strong>,\\\" a sermon given on March 1, 2020<\/strong> in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version(\u00ae). Copyright \u00a9 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"8":{"sm_title":"The Wolf is at The Door","sm_id":"353","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"49687_jb_20200209.jpg","sm_date":"2020-05","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/02\/09s1\/20200209s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/02\/09s1\/20200209s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"XsGT7gr-HNk","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49724_sermon-newsletter-202005-the-wolf-is-at-the-door.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all<\/em>\" (Isaiah 53:1–6).<\/p>\n

It is important to understand that a religious system crucified Christ. Although the Roman authorities were the instruments of His death, the religious order of the day—created by God's own people—put the Son of God on the cross. There were leaders in that generation who adorned themselves in righteous robes and loved to be called \"Teacher\" in the marketplace (see Matthew 23:7). They ended up creating a system of salvation that was much wider and more inclusive than the one God had given. All kinds of people were coming into the temple defiled and going out the same way. They were living in ways that the Bible clearly indicated would leave them excluded from the kingdom of God forever.<\/p>\n

In contrast, Jesus came in a form that lacked grandeur in the eyes of men. He was not dressed in righteous robes, not trying to garner their titles, not doing things their way. The Bible says, \"There is no beauty that we should desire Him<\/em>\" (Isaiah 53:2). They despised and rejected Him because He challenged their religious system of redemption. Remember, it is the propensity of humankind to conclude that we can be as God, becoming judges of what is good and what is evil—the original sin in the Garden of Eden. If you take that to its logical extension, we can start declaring that God forgives things when He does not. We can start telling people that they are going to heaven when they are not. That is the grave danger of religion. Can you imagine sitting inside a place as a supposed believer in Christ only to end up at the throne of God one day and find out you have been outside all along? What a tragedy it is going to be for so many.<\/p>\n

He was \"a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief<\/em>\" (Isaiah 53:3). There was a heaviness in the heart of the Son of God as He looked on the people as sheep without a shepherd. \"And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him<\/em>\" (53:3). We are, in great measure, reliving the Scripture again in our day. In many places, even where God's people are gathering, the Word of God is despised. We are now gravitating toward fancy preachers who have opened the door wide to people who are not going to heaven, giving them false peace when they are not at peace with God.<\/p>\nTHE FULL COUNSEL OF GOD<\/span>\n

Paul was a true shepherd who did not hold back from declaring the truth. This is what he said in the book of Acts: \"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God<\/em>\" (Acts 20:26–27). It is the cry of my heart that if anyone reading this today ends up in hell, let it never be because I failed to declare to you the whole counsel of God or did not warn you of something that had the power to drag you down into eternal darkness.<\/p>\n

Paul continued: \"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears<\/em>\" (Acts 20:29–31). He warned that wolves are going to come—which we are seeing in packs in our generation. These wolves are going to devour the sacrifice of Christ and the promise of new life through Him. They are going to promise the people liberty, though they themselves are slaves to corruption (see 2 Peter 2:19). Wolves teach that you can live a lifestyle against the Word of God and still claim heaven as your eternal home. Such a wolf is now at the door of the Christian Church in America.<\/p>\n

Yet the apostle Paul clearly warned in the book of First Corinthians: \"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators...<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 6:9). These are people who engage in sexual intercourse outside the bonds of marriage between one man and one woman—and will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived into thinking you can live an immoral lifestyle and still have heaven as your eternal home. This is hard for this generation to hear, especially when so many preachers are saying, \"Well, God understands need and God is a God of love. He won't send anybody to hell.\" That is not true! Yes, He is a God of love, we know that, but the Bible tells us that fornicators have no inheritance in the kingdom of God.<\/p>\n

\"Nor idolaters...<\/em>\" These are people who have other loves—something in their life that is their whole obsession. Christ (or church) is just a little part of their life; they are pursuing something else.<\/p>\n

\"Nor adulterers...<\/em>\" Today we take a word such as adultery and call it an \"extramarital affair\" as if it is a black tie event. \"You are invited to an extramarital affair next Friday at 5 o'clock.\" Yet the Bible calls it adultery. Settle it: Sex outside the bonds of the person you are married to will keep you outside the kingdom of God.<\/p>\n

\"Nor homosexuals, nor sodomites...<\/em>\" In other words, this applies to both men and women. I understand the dilemma that some might face in same-sex attraction. Nevertheless, you cannot give in to that lifestyle on any level because the Bible clearly says it will leave you outside the kingdom of God.<\/p>\n

\"Nor thieves...<\/em>\" This refers to all people who steal—even just a little. Perhaps they have a contract and steal a little bit more than they should, or maybe they cheat on their taxes.<\/p>\n

\"Nor covetous...<\/em>\" These are people who are always wanting more of the things of this world, never satisfied with what they have.<\/p>\n

\"Nor drunkards...<\/em>\" Week after week, there are people who go to church on Sunday after being out at the club the night before, drinking and dancing.<\/p>\n

\"Nor revilers...<\/em>\" Especially in our country today, reviling has become the speech of the day. It is fashionable just to curse everybody around you.<\/p>\n

\"Nor extortioners<\/em>\" In other words, those who take advantage of others will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9–10).<\/p>\n

However, Paul finished with good news: \"And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 6:11). He was saying, \"In contrast, you are set apart for the kingdom of God. You have honestly repented and walked away from what God's Word says is wrong. You have walked away from this old way of thinking and behaving and have instead set yourself apart for the kingdom of God.\"<\/p>\nTHE HIRELING WILL FLEE<\/span>\n

Nevertheless, we must be aware that we are living in an hour when the wolf is heading to the door of the Church, demanding that we bow down to these new definitions of good and evil. The days of being able to declare truths like the ones above without penalty are very close to being over, if they are not over already.<\/p>\n

Jesus once said, \"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep<\/em>\" (John 10:11–13).<\/p>\n

There are hirelings in a lot of pulpits in America today. They do not necessarily leave the people, but they leave biblical truth when the wolf is at the door. The wolf says, \"This is what you will preach; these are the truths that you will espouse.\" And the hirelings bow down when the music plays in order to save themselves, for it has always been about them and never really about the sheep. And so the hirelings end up leading the people into the broad way of destruction rather than into the narrow way of eternal life.<\/p>\n

In contrast, the true shepherds of God in this generation are going to care more for the people than for their own safety or reputation. Of course, it will not be an easy road. We are about to join our brothers and sisters in China, Iran and other places who are being persecuted and even put to death for what they believe. We have lived a very comfortable, lazy Christianity in America, but those days are over. The wolf is now at the door.<\/p>\n

And so I challenge you with all my heart to turn from sin. Find that new life in Christ, and rise up to be the person that God has called you to be. You already know what God has His finger on. Ask Him for help in turning away from watching pornography, from drinking, from flirtation in the office, from railing. Ask Him to deliver you from cowardice and instead put a love for people in your heart—a love that casts out all fear.<\/p>\n

Let this society despise Christ, consider Him ordinary, rebel against His words. But by the grace of God, we will not bow before the wolf in this generation. By His grace, we will stand unashamedly for the truth of God. We will begin to pray again as a Church Age. We will have the courage in this generation to stand for those who do not have a voice for themselves—for our children, for the unborn, for our high school students, for college students; for every mother, father, and child in this country who needs to know there is a Savior who died for them!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"THE WOLF IS AT THE DOOR<\/strong>,\" a sermon given on February 9, 2020<\/strong> in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"9":{"sm_title":"God Is With Us. Let's Rise and Build!","sm_id":"351","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"49668_jb_20200112.jpg","sm_date":"2020-04","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/01\/12s1\/20200112s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2020\/01\/12s1\/20200112s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"ix2V3JjnrUw","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49713_sermon-newsletter-202004-god-is-with-us-lets-rise-and-build.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia<\/em>\" (Ezra 1:1).<\/p>\n

Let me set the scene for this particular moment in history. The people of God had been called to a specific place—the nation we now call Israel—and to a particular city—Jerusalem. In this place, the glory of God dwelt in the temple. And the people were called to be a special people, changed and empowered by God, to be a praise and a testimony to Him in the earth.<\/p>\n

This exact same calling is on your life and mine as part of the Church of Jesus Christ in our generation. However, the people of that time dealt very casually with their calling. The service and worship of God gradually became a matter of convenience, taking on forms that God never intended. Sadly, God's ordained purpose for them slipped through their fingers like sand, and suddenly they found themselves powerless as an enemy called Babylon began to take them captive. In three stages, the people of God were taken into a foreign land for seventy years. This tends to happen throughout history—to believers, families, churches. We end up in a place we were not destined to be.<\/p>\n

This captivity was a time of chastening—a time for the children of Israel to reconsider their calling in the earth. And then, suddenly, revival came! It is important to note that, first of all, revival is God's initiative. It is something that God determines in His heart to do. The Lord had already predetermined that He would let the enemies of His people capture them for seventy years. He had spoken through the mouth of Daniel the prophet at the time they were taken into captivity that at the end of seventy years, He would visit them and bring them home. And this is exactly what happened, as we saw in our opening scripture. Cyrus, a Medo-Persian king, was not a partaker of the Jews' religion, yet the Lord stirred his spirit so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom: \"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah<\/em>\" (Ezra 1:2).<\/p>\n

Revival usually happens in response to a cry among at least some of God's people. Of course, there were probably others who were quite content in Babylon in those days. Perhaps they had acquired a fairly good life for themselves there. However, there is always a voice that rises up.<\/p>\n

It could simply be a person such as you or me in our own house, sighing, \"God, the way Your people are being treated is not right. It's not right that You are not known and revered. Your word is being cast into the streets as if it is something evil. It is simply not right!\"<\/p>\n

The decree continued: \"Who is among you of all His people?<\/em>\" (Ezra 1:3). Who in this kingdom actually belongs to God? Who desires to live a life that brings glory to His name? Who is concerned about regaining what was lost through neglect and negligence?<\/p>\n

\"May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem<\/em>\" (Ezra 1:3–4). King Cyrus was saying, \"As the people get up to go rebuild, everybody who is part of the family of God should help them in whatever way they can, even if they cannot go themselves. Everybody needs to do something in this rebuilding of the testimony of God in the earth!\"<\/p>\nNOTHING HAS BEEN LOST<\/span>\n

What happens next is phenomenal: \"King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods<\/em>\" (Ezra 1:7). This included everything that God had given a pattern for to King David, who in turn had given it to his son, Solomon. Solomon had fashioned all of the instruments that were necessary in the worship of God—all the things that were part of the religion of that time.<\/p>\n

Yet when the Israelites were taken captive, they probably assumed all of the articles had been lost, never to be regained. That is exactly what the devil would have wanted them to believe. But you see, nothing of God is ever lost. It is merely in storage. The Bible tells us that the articles were counted: \"Thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twentynine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred<\/em>\" (Ezra 1:9–11). Can you imagine being there as all these items were brought out of storage? The Babylonians or the Medo-Persians could have easily melted them down and made gold bars out of them. But God is always in charge of everything!<\/p>\n

You may say, \"Where is the word of knowledge?\" It is in storage. \"Where are the gifts of healing?\" They are in storage. \"Where are the prophets?\" They are in storage. Nothing can be lost to the kingdom of God. There have been times and seasons throughout history when God suddenly says, \"Bring out everything that was taken captive and give it back to My people!\" The Lord makes everything available to His people once again and asks, \"Who wants to rebuild? Who wants to go home? Who wants to glorify Me in the earth? Who wants to see captivity taken captive one more time in this generation?\"<\/p>\n

A psalmist wrote about it in Psalm 126:1: \"When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream,<\/em>\" In other words, \"We thought it was all lost forever. But suddenly we realized the hand of God was moving again—that our captivity had indeed been taken captive!\"<\/p>\n

The psalmist continued, \"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad. Bring back our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the South. Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him<\/em>\" (Psalm 126:3–6). In other words, \"Our confidence is in God— no matter where we are, no matter how powerless we may feel to do anything about the hour we live in.\" If you and I have that cry in our heart, we will come home rejoicing, bringing a harvest with us!<\/p>\nIN EVERY PLACE<\/span>\n

The next chapter of Ezra goes on to say: \"Now these are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his own city<\/em>\" (Ezra 2:1). And for the rest of chapter two, different houses that arose to rebuild are listed. For example, in verse three, we read: \"The people of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two.<\/em>\" Verse six says, \"The people of Pahath-Moab, of the people of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve<\/em>.\" Verse ten: \"The people of Bani, six hundred forty-two<\/em>.\" Verse fourteen: \"The people of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six.<\/em>\"<\/p>\n

This is what it speaks to me: Not everybody will get up and rebuild, but in every town, in every city, in every state, there will be somebody! If the United States of America were in this book of Ezra, perhaps it would say: \"Of the state of Florida, 7,644 got up to build. Of the state of New Jersey, 5,322 got up to build.\" And not just states, but little towns. \"Of these little towns, 600 got up—400—123.\" There will be people of all denominations, in all places rising up!<\/p>\n

The people of God did not hear just the decree of King Cyrus—they heard something in their spirit. \"God is with us. Let's rise up and build!\" It is the same thing that many are hearing in America today.<\/p>\nWHEN SOMEBODY STANDS UP<\/span>\n

In every one of these houses listed in the book of Ezra, somebody had to be the first one to speak. Somebody had to stand up in their house and say, \"I am hearing something in my heart. God is calling us back to the place where we once were—a place where we worship Him again in spirit and in truth, where we as His people bring glory and honor to His name.\" And so it will be today—someone has to be the first to stand up in his or her house.<\/p>\n

Perhaps you would say to me: \"Who is going to listen to me? I am the least in my house.\" But you see, that is why throughout history, God has used people who give us a picture of what real spiritual authority looks like. Consider, for example, Nehemiah. He was merely a butler to the king who received a report that his city was in reproach and his people were suffering. Yet Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem with the king's permission, and he told the people \"of the hand of my God which had been good upon me and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me. So they said, 'Let us rise up and build.' Then they set their hands to this good work<\/em>\" (Nehemiah 2:18).<\/p>\n

Now, I have no doubt that there were leaders, architects, and skilled civic workers in Jerusalem. Yet, suddenly, this man, whose only claim to fame is that he carried a tray to the king, showed up and said, \"God's hand is on me, and the king has given me good words, telling me this thing can be done.\" And the people's response was: \"Let us rise up and build!\"<\/p>\n

Never underestimate what God can do through you as you stand up and answer His call—whether you are a person of high or low position, whether you have been successful or a failure in your own sight. You see, God is giving us a window of time to do something only He can enable us to do. If we are wise, we will rise up and begin to rebuild the testimony of God on the earth once again. We will believe that God is still God of the impossible. We will take to heart what Nehemiah told the people: \"For the sake of your children, rise up and build. For the sake of your families, rise up and build. For the sake of the stranger, rise up and build. Watch what God will do!\"<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"GOD IS WITH US—LET'S RISE AND BUILD<\/strong>,\" a sermon given on January 12, 2020<\/strong> in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"10":{"sm_title":"Will I Ever Be Free?","sm_id":"349","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"49627_jb_20191110.jpg","sm_date":"2020-03","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/11\/10s1\/20191110s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/11\/10s1\/20191110s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"hoeDv-1816w","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49699_sermon-newsletter-202003-will-i-ever-be-free.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.' Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, 'See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them'<\/em>\" (Matthew 8:1–4).<\/p>\n

I believe the following question tugs on the hearts of many Christians today: Will I ever be free? Surely the leper in the above account was living with the same question in his heart. In those days, leprosy carried a stigma with it so severe that the person with the affliction was required by Old Testament law to put a veil over his face. This speaks of the necessity for the person to mask his or her true condition. They walk through society feeling unclean, pretending that they have victory when they do not—as is the case with many in the Body of Christ today.<\/p>\n

The leper's condition may have started small—perhaps as a little spot under his eye—but eventually it began to consume him. Similarly for many today, captivity starts as a small thing. Consider how so many people in this generation are trapped in pornography, not realizing its mental and physical repercussions. They may have started viewing something online, unaware that it was going to make an impression on their brain and become part of their character. They thought they could contain it, but now it has spread throughout their mind, and they are captivated by it. Pornography puts people in a prison from which it is almost impossible to escape, apart from the power of God.<\/p>\n

Or think of the person who just reached for a glass and thought, \"I can consume this little bit of alcohol. What harm can it do?\" They thought they could control it, but now it controls them. Or maybe it started as just a little bit of depression, but now it seems to be a darkness that literally envelops them. And now they are left with a cry in their heart, \"Oh, God, is there any hope for me? Will I ever be free?\"<\/p>\nTHE HUMAN CONDITION<\/span>\n

The apostle Paul speaks of the condition of the human heart in the book of Romans: \"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find<\/em>\" (Romans 7:18). In other words, \"I know what I should do; I know what my life should look like. But somehow I have lost the power to move in that direction. \"The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice<\/em>\" (7:19). Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever made a New Year's resolution only to have it crumble into the sand ten minutes after midnight? You were convinced that it was going to be different this time. You were going to be that husband or that wife that you never had been. You were going to be that father, that brother, that friend. You were going to be honest. You were not going to lose your temper. You were not going to drink. But it was not long before you were right back in your old behaviors because you are imprisoned.<\/p>\n

Paul goes on to say, \"Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good<\/em>\" (Romans 7:20–21). In other words, \"I want to do right, but something has gotten hold of me, and it is consuming me. It sends me on a pathway that I do not want to be on—practicing things that I know are wrong. \"For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?<\/em>\" (7:22–24). Who will set me free? Who can make a difference in my life? Then he says, \"I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!<\/em>\" (7:25).<\/p>\n

That is where freedom is found, just as in our opening passage when Jesus reached out and touched the leper. I love that picture. Jesus simply touched him, and healing came immediately. No terms, no conditions. He did not say, \"Let's go back and talk about who caused this in your life. Did your father love you? Was your mother kind?\" He just reached out because here was a man who knew what he was: someone who could not change himself; a man who was sick of feeling unclean.<\/p>\n

When you become sin-sick, you are at the beginning of a healing that only God can bring to His people. You get to the point where you say, \"I don't care who knows what I am. I want to be free. I want to be clean.\"By stepping out of the crowd and saying what he said, the leper was identifying himself to the multitudes that were all around Jesus. He stepped out and admitted, \"I am dirty. Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.\"<\/p>\nEVERYTHING POINTS TO CHRIST<\/span>\n

Interestingly, after Jesus healed the man, He said to him, \"See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them<\/em>\" (Matthew 8:4). This may seem a bit odd unless we remember that everything in the Bible points to Jesus. You see, before the world was even formed, God knew His Son would have to come and die in order to redeem those who had been created in His own image. Therefore everything, even in the Old Testament, points to the Savior. So let's look in the book of Leviticus to better understand why Jesus gave the man those instructions.<\/p>\n

\"Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest. And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop'<\/em>\" (Leviticus 14:1–4). It was understood under Old Testament law that leprosy was an incurable disease that only the hand of God could heal. And if God, in His mercy, chose to heal you, then a gift had to be offered in the temple before God as a testimony.<\/p>\n

\"The priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water<\/em>\"(Leviticus 14:5). Note that after Jesus had died on the cross, the Bible says, \"One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out<\/em>\" (John 19:34).<\/p>\n

\"As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop<\/em>\" (Leviticus 14:6). \"Where they crucified Him<\/em>\"(John 19:18). The cross would be the cedar wood. So one bird was to be sacrificed, and one was to be washed in the blood. But it was to be done in conjunction with wood, which represents the cross of Christ.<\/p>\n

The book of Matthew tells us that the soldiers stripped Jesus, and they put a scarlet robe on him (see Matthew 27:28). As Jesus was dying on the cross, \"they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth<\/em>\" (John 19:29). So now we have the cross, which is the cedar wood. We have the robe, which is the scarlet. And then the hyssop that they put to His mouth. Everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus Christ!<\/p>\n

\"Dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times [which means the perfection or completion of God] on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field<\/em>\" (Leviticus 14:6–7).<\/p>\n

In other words, the one who is cleansed in the blood is to be released—no longer confined or restricted but sent into the open field! And the purpose is not just to fly around aimlessly, for all creatures in nature—birds in particular—do what God tells them to do. And so when Jesus sets you free, you become what God has designed and intended for you to be. Remember, the Bible says that if you are in Christ, you are a new creation. The old things in your life have passed away. Old bondages have lost their authority over your life; old prison gates must open and let you go. You have been set free by the blood of the Lamb to go and become everything God has called you to be.<\/p>\nTHE LORD IS WILLING<\/span>\n

The beauty of this whole story is the fact that God still desires to touch you, even though something may have put you in bondage. You may feel ashamed, you may be rejected by people—even those who claim to be followers of Christ. But, remember, Jesus was not offended by the leper who came to Him. He was not at all affronted by his condition. As a matter of fact, Jesus reached out and touched him immediately. You see, every time the Son of God encounters an honest heart, He simply reaches out and touches.<\/p>\n

Perhaps the question in your heart is, \"So, what do I do now?\" I encourage you to press through the crowd. Die to your pride. Go to Jesus and say, \"Lord, if You want to, You can touch me and cleanse me.\" If you come with an honest heart, I can assure you that He will reply, \"I want to.\" He always has wanted to, and He always will want to! That is the reason Christ came to earth. He came to set you free and give you a new future.<\/p>\n

You and I are living in an hour when the Church has to be free. We have to have a living testimony of Christ. After all, it is hard to argue with a leper who has been miraculously healed. It is time for the Church to arise and say, \"Lord, touch my life. Set me free and send me into the open field—wherever it may lead, whatever it may require.\"<\/p>\n

If you let the Lord touch you, people will begin to look at your life and say, \"That is the bird who used to live in a cage. There it goes!\" You are going to fly through your city. Everywhere you go, there will be something noticeably different about you. You will not be bound by the cords of this society any longer. And you will understand and experience what Jesus talked about when He said, \"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free<\/em>\" (John 8:32).<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"WILL I EVER BE FREE?<\/strong>,\" a sermon given on November 10, 2019<\/strong> in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"11":{"sm_title":"Not Without You: The God-Touched Life","sm_id":"347","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2020-02","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/10\/06s2\/20191006s2.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/10\/06s2\/20191006s2.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49683_sermon-newsletter-202002-not-without-you-the-god-touched-life.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Then Jacob said, 'O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, \"Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you\"'<\/em>\" (Genesis 32:9). Here we see that Jacob was being called back to an old place armed with a new understanding. It was a place of blessing— a place of affecting the futures of many people, even you and me today.<\/p>\n

Now Jacob had sought this place of blessing before, but he had not done it God's way—in truth. \"Jacob said to his father, 'I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.' But Isaac said to his son, 'How is it that you found it so quickly, my son?' And he said, 'Because the Lord your God brought it to me.' Then Isaac said to Jacob, 'Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.' So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, 'The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.'...'Are you really my son Esau?' He said, 'I am'<\/em>\" (Genesis 27:19–24).<\/p>\n

This conversation would be the same as the Lord asking us today, \"Are you really who you say you are? Do you speak truth? Do you love your brother unconditionally? Are you willing to go wherever I lead you? Are you really My son, My daughter?\"\"Oh yes, Lord, I am. I am genuine,\" we would reply.<\/p>\n

\"[Isaac] said, 'Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's game, so that my soul may bless you.' So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, 'Come near now and kiss me, my son'<\/em>\" (Genesis 27:25–26).<\/p>\n

This speaks to me about the pretended embrace of the responsibility that comes with the blessing of God. In Jacob's case, it was a self-focused pursuit of the incredible promise that was once given to his grandfather, Abraham: \"Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you'<\/em>\" (Genesis 12:1–3).<\/p>\n

Who wouldn't want that blessing? People will pass you walking down the street and know that the protective hand of God is on you. He will go to battle against your enemies. But there is a last part to the promise: \"And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed<\/em>\"(Genesis 12:3). This implies that the blessing is not just for you, but is something God is going to do to flow through you for the sake of other people.<\/p>\n

Now, we know that this promise was fulfilled in Christ and, ultimately, in you and me as His Church. So technically we are the fulfillment of the promise of the blessing that God made to Abraham. However, just like Jacob, there are many people in every generation who say, \"God, bless me,\" but it is not a truthful seeking. They more or less mean, \"Bless me the way I think my life should be blessed,\" while completely negating what that blessing is intended to be all about.<\/p>\n

In other words, they fully embrace the first half of the promise, but they push away the second half. They want a great name, a great position, a great future, the assurance that their enemies will not prevail—but they do not want Part B where God is supposed to flow through their lives. The blessing of God ought to become known wherever we go. Families everywhere should be brought to the knowledge of God and touched by His presence and power as evidenced in our lives.<\/p>\nFACE-TO-FACE ENCOUNTER<\/span>\n

Let's see what happened when God called Jacob back to the place he once had sought by deceit. First of all, on his way back, there was something he had to face: his fear of his brother (see Genesis 32:9–23).<\/p>\n

I believe this is a type of many people in the Body of Christ today who are afraid of what it might cost to go back to the place of God's calling. Sure, we love to talk about the book of Acts, sit around and philosophize, put on big productions. We love to do everything but personally go back there—back to the place where we fully give ourselves for the sake of others. In order to face his fear, Jacob ended up in a face-to-face encounter with God. I feel we are in a similar place as the Church of Jesus Christ. We fear a face-to-face encounter with God where we must make a decision of how deep we want to go with Him. How willing are we to be fully given for a sin-sick generation?<\/p>\n

The Scripture tells us, \"Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day<\/em>\"(Genesis 32:24). You and I now know this Man to be the preincarnate Christ. \"When He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, 'Let Me go, for the day breaks.' But he said, 'I will not let You go unless You bless me.' So He said to him, 'What is your name?'<\/em>\" (32:25–27).<\/p>\n

Remember, the last time Jacob went for the blessing and his father asked him his name, he replied, \"Esau.\" He lied to his father and declared himself to be a man that he was not. The name Jacob actually means \"deceiver.\" However, this time Jacob was finally willing to be honest with God. He said, \"My name is Jacob. My name is deceiver. I sought the blessing without the responsibility that comes with it\" (see Genesis 32:27).<\/p>\n

But Jesus said to him, \"Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel<\/em>\" (Genesis 32:28). You see, when we have a face-toface, honest confrontation with the Son of God, our nature is changed. We become a new creation. We are given a new passion, new power and new vision. We become a different person once we stop trying to get the blessing our own way and finally say, \"Lord, bless me Your way.\"<\/p>\n

\"For you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed<\/em>\" (Genesis 32:28). How did Jacob prevail with men? He was not even wrestling with men. But God was telling Jacob, \"Your face-to-face encounter with Me has given you an authority that will move the hearts of men.\"In the same way, you will receive a spiritual authority when you wrestle honestly with God. There will be power in your speech. God's presence will go with you, and those around you will be blessed.<\/p>\nSTAYING WITH THE LEAST<\/span>\n

In the next chapter, Jacob finally encounters his brother, Esau. Esau is what I call the self-made man. He is in the lineage of God, the first inheritor of the blessing, but he sells it off for the satisfying of his own appetite. He does not want the promise that through him all the world will be blessed. In Esau's world, it is, \"To hell with the rest of them. I just want soup for my belly.\" In other words, \"Just feed me, clothe me, give me a nice house, make me comfortable. That is all I am looking for in life.\"<\/p>\n

During their encounter, Esau says to Jacob, \"Let us take our journey; let us go, and I will go before you<\/em>\"(Genesis 33:12). Here we see the heart of the carnal Christian. \"I will go before you—me first. I want the best place. I want the preeminence. I want to be known as a warrior in a victory.\" Esau has 400 soldiers with him, ready to gallop off to conquer something.<\/p>\n

On the other hand, Jacob is now a God-touched man, entirely different from his brother. Jacob replies to him, \"My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir<\/em>\" (Genesis 33:13–14).<\/p>\n

The mark of the God-touched man or woman is that they are not willing to go any faster than the slowest among them can go. The Esaus of this generation might end up in pulpits around the nation—where the people are just things to be counted in their victories. But to the Godtouched man and woman, every soul is precious in His sight. This person is the one who says, \"No, you go ahead. I am not going any faster than the weakest among us can travel. I am not leaving anybody behind. The motto of my life is the motto of Christ's life: I am going to heaven, but not without you.\"<\/p>\n

I believe it was God's grace that gave Jacob a limp after he wrestled with Him. I, too, have learned to thank God for every struggle and trial—for everything He has ever allowed into my life that has kept me from running ahead of Him and His people. Every once in a while, if I get a little bit ahead of Him and myself, He just touches my hip one more time and reminds me, \"Slow down, son. You are going just a bit too fast.\"<\/p>\nRETURNING TO THE PLACE OF POWER<\/span>\n

Just as God called Jacob back, He is now calling His people back to something deeper than we have ever known. He is calling us to be a blessing. Yes, we may be afraid of the cost, but who knows what will happen if we will move in this direction?<\/p>\n

Jacob had no idea what getting up and going back would produce. He had no idea he was carrying Jesus Christ in his physical DNA. He had no idea he was carrying the Church of Jesus Christ—you and me. But in his simple act of obedience, Jacob became the fulfillment of the blessing, \"In you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed!\"<\/p>\n

And so it is time for the Church to return to that place of power! It is time for us to come before the Lord and say, \"God, give me influence in this generation. Give me strength and vision that is not my own. Give me a life plan that is so much deeper than anything I could ever hope to come up with on my own.\"<\/p>\n

I think you and I will be amazed at what a simple act of obedience can produce in our world!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"Not Without You: The God-Touched Life,\"<\/strong> a sermon given on October 6, 2019<\/strong> in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"12":{"sm_title":"Not Without You: The Commitment To Unity","sm_id":"345","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"49596_jb_20191006.jpg","sm_date":"2020-01","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/10\/06s1\/20191006s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/10\/06s1\/20191006s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"8X5Rx-ta-wo","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49654_sermon-newsletter-202001-not-without-you-the-commitment-to-unity.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 11:17–21).<\/p>\n

Here we see the apostle Paul talking about the grave necessity of unity within the Body of Christ. This group of Corinthian believers was gathering for a time of worship and thanksgiving in the presence of God, yet something was occurring in their midst that was displeasing to the Lord.<\/p>\n

Paul continued, \"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you; that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me'<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 11:23–24).<\/p>\n

Paul begins contrasting the heart of Christ with the selfishness of the Corinthian fellowship. He was saying, \"This is not what the worship of God is supposed to look like. When you come together, I want you to remember how the Lord Jesus took the cup and said, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me'<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 11: 25). In contrast to the Corinthian church, Christ was willing to be broken and poured out for the sake of other people.<\/p>\n

\"As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 11:26). There is power in that proclamation. There is power when we as the Church of Jesus Christ turn away from focusing on our own problems and needs and instead look to the needs of one another. The fellowship that Christ is looking for in His Church is found when we begin to ask, \"Is there anybody I can allow myself to be broken for?\"<\/p>\n

Now, I am not talking about everybody running around with $50 in his hand, looking for somebody to give it to. I am talking about having a word for somebody who is discouraged; inviting somebody who looks lonely for a cup of coffee—being willing to have the plans of your day broken in order that you might be poured out for the sake of somebody else. Paul says, \"If you do this, you become a proclamation of the Son of God who came to this earth and poured out His life for the sake of others.\"<\/p>\n

\"Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 11:27). Many quote this verse with regard to people who have sin in their life yet they partake of the communion table. While it can have some application in that way, that is not the context in which Paul was speaking. He was talking about being given to one another in the Body of Christ just as Christ was for us.<\/p>\n

He went on to say, \"Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 11:28–31).<\/p>\n

An \"unworthy manner\" means coming to the communion table and partaking of the promise of the One who was given for us in totality, yet not realizing that we are called into that kind of fellowship with one another. This is the seriousness of being committed to one another in the Body of Christ. Failure to understand what it means to be part of the Lord's body is the reason many are spiritually weak. There is no such thing as \"just me and God.\" No, we are grafted into a body. Casual interaction with one another is a good thing to a point, but the call of the Lord is into something deeper.<\/p>\nESTEEM ONE ANOTHER<\/span>\n

Biblical unity requires that we learn to not merely tolerate each other but to actually esteem one another. Paul went on to say, \"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 12:12–13). In other words, there is one Church composed of people from different cultures, backgrounds, and socioeconomic states—people who are known and those who are not.<\/p>\n

\"For in fact the body is not one member, but many....If the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,' is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 12:14–18). You are exactly where God wants you to be! He set you where you are, to be what you are, to do what you do, to glorify Him in the unique way that only you can.<\/p>\n

\"The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'; nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker, are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 12:21–23). Everybody is of value in the kingdom of God. There are no big people and little people. Everyone has an incredible, inestimable worth in the sight of Almighty God.<\/p>\n

In the next chapter, Paul sums it up with what I consider to be the glue that holds it all together: \"Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging symbol. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 13:1–8). This is the kind of love that the Lord calls us to have for one another!<\/p>\n

I was doing a radio interview recently, and the interviewer said to me, \"Pastor, I have read your book. The stories about what God has done around the world are amazing. You have done outreaches, you have spoken to governments, you have seen civil war come to an end. But now tell me and our listening audience: What is the greatest miracle of all that you have seen in your life over the years?\"<\/p>\n

Without hesitation, I replied, \"The greatest miracle of all is that I love people.\"<\/p>\n

With deep emotion in her voice, she said, \"I never, ever would have thought that would be your answer. With all these things that have happened over the years— all these wondrous things you could have spoken about.\"<\/p>\n

\"If you knew me before I got saved —if you knew the journey and how difficult it has been—you would understand what I am talking about!\" I said. I really do love people now. I don't fake it. It is something God put in my heart as I was willing to take the journey.<\/p>\nTHE BLESSING OF UNITY<\/span>\n

Clearly, this commitment to walking in unity and love is a huge undertaking. However, there are incredible blessings that God promises will be the result. King David wrote, \"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down to the edge of his garments<\/em>\" (Psalm 133:1–2). Where there is biblical unity, something begins flowing through members of the Body of Christ that cannot be produced by anything in this world.<\/p>\n

\"It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 133:3). A thirst is satisfied, not only in God's people, but in all those around as well. \"For there the Lord commanded the blessing— life forevermore\" (verse 3). And God commands a blessing of life! Remember in chapter two of Acts when the disciples were gathered in the Upper Room in one accord? They were unified with God and with one another—not in strength, but in weakness. They all knew they needed God as well as each other. Suddenly the door opened, and the hundred and twenty went out into the marketplace, overturning the whole known world of their day. You see, when people witness the unity of the Church, suddenly there is a stirring in their hearts that says, \"Whoever their God is, is God! I want that Christ in my life!\"<\/p>\n

As a man of God, not just as a pastor, I have made a determination in my heart: I am going to heaven, but not without you. Not without the young; not without the old; not without the educated; not without the uneducated; not without those with whom I feel comfortable and those with whom I am ill at ease. Unity means the whole Body of Christ going beyond convenience—where we are not content just to get to heaven ourselves; we are unwilling to go without those around us.<\/p>\n

Think about it! Rightfully, Jesus could have stayed in heaven and fully enjoyed it forever. He did not have to come here. But in His heart, He said, \"I am not going to enjoy eternity without you.\" And so the love in the heart of God compelled Him to break through the canopy of eternity into time where He walked among us, endured our frailties and went to a cross. Paul said, \"This is the Christ I presented to you.\" This is the manner in which we must learn to interact with one another.<\/p>\n

Keep in mind that in this last hour of time, we must realize that not everybody in the Church does everything the same. Unity is more important than being in agreement on every little single point of doctrine. We may have opposing viewpoints on some things, but if we can come back to that common ground where salvation is—by God's grace, through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ—then I can take the hand of any man or any woman anywhere in the Body of Christ and say, \"You are my brother. You are my sister. Let's go together. I am not going to take this journey without you.\"<\/p>\n

We have a huge fight ahead of us for our country, our culture, our families, our children. We need the whole Body of Christ. And so by the Spirit of God, may we not fall into the trap of division thinking somehow it is holy. May we go together as one body, walking in the love of Christ and the incredible blessings of unity that God has promised!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"Not Without You-Part 1: The Commitment to unity<\/strong>,\" a sermon given on October 6, 2019<\/strong> in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version(R). Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"13":{"sm_title":"Wilderness Shakers","sm_id":"343","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"49586_jb_20190915.jpg","sm_date":"2019-12","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/09\/15s1\/20190915s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/09\/15s1\/20190915s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"AZwBazW1XuE","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49641_sermon-newsletter-201912-wilderness-shakers.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.\"<\/p>\n

\"The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth, and strips the forests bare; and in His temple everyone says, 'Glory!'The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, and the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace\" (Psalm 29:1–11).<\/p>\n

How incredible is the voice of the Lord! If you go back to the very beginning of the Bible, it says that everything that exists in this world began with the Spirit of God moving and God speaking. Darkness turned to light; confusion suddenly yielded to divine order; and ultimately even dust produced life when God spoke to it.<\/p>\n

We know that in the beginning, God also created man and woman—Adam and Eve. Created in His image, they were given the power of speech. Picture Adam and Eve walking through the Garden of Eden, tending to this world that God had created, speaking in the capacity God had given to them to work in unison with Him in His creation. Everything they spoke would have been in accord with the heart and mind of God. And because of it, everything carried on in divine order as it was meant to...until sin entered the human race.<\/p>\n

With Satan's influence, Adam and Eve began to believe that they could be godly apart from God. They decided they could judge what is good and what is evil. And so through sin, human speech became corrupt, and human ears began to be closed to the voice of God.<\/p>\n

That is why, when the Pharisees came to John the Baptist's baptism, he said to them, \"Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?<\/em>\" (Matthew 3:7). In other words, \"The seed of the serpent is in you, and a snake has no ears. And since a snake cannot hear, it is guided by its tongue. Likewise, you cannot hear the voice of God anymore; you are being guided by your own speech.\"<\/p>\n

Does that not describe our generation today? Once we no longer hear from God and our speech is not in accordance with His Word, we succeed in turning light to darkness. We turn divine order into confusion—much like the state of the Earth in the beginning when it \"was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep<\/em>\" (Genesis 1:2). Dominated by emptiness, it lacked purpose and meaning. The original translation says it was \"confused.\" There was no meaning to it until the Spirit of God moved and God began to speak.<\/p>\n

Although humanity, in a sense, devolved back to the beginning through sin, when you came to Christ, God spoke into your darkness. You did not find God, He found you! He whispered to you; He moved upon the person who invited you to church. He revealed Himself to you and started speaking to you in your darkness, calling you something phenomenal. He said, \"If My Spirit is in you, you become a new creation—no longer part of the old order of death and confusion. The old things in your life have passed away, and all things have become new.\"<\/p>\n

Remember, this does not happen by human effort. Only the Spirit of God can bring us back to life again. As we open His Word, God speaks and the Spirit moves again in His new creation—just as He did in the very beginning.<\/p>\nTHE VOICE OF THE LORD<\/span>\n

Let's return to Psalm 29 and take a more detailed look at what else happens at the voice of the Lord.<\/p>\n

\"The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty<\/em>\" (29:3–4). In other words, the voice of God is above all those places of confusion—everything that has tried to attach itself to you. He is above your self-view and all the words that others have spoken over you. He is even above all the doomsayers of our present day.<\/p>\n

\"The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon<\/em>\" (Psalm 29:5). In other words, certain patterns in our lives may be deeply rooted. The thing about cedars is that they seem to last forever. I used to be a farmer, so I know that if you put any kind of post other than cedar in the ground, it will literally rot and break off in about three years or less. But if you build a fence with cedar posts, it will probably last so long that when your son or daughter takes over your farm, it will still be there.<\/p>\n

God uses this illustration to remind us that His voice can break even those things that seem to be entrenched in our lives. In fact, He not only breaks them, He splinters them—dissolving them like fluff on a dandelion. And out of that, He says He makes them \"skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox<\/em>\" (Psalm 29:6). He breaks these old strongholds and brings new life.<\/p>\n

\"The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire<\/em>\" (Psalm 29:7)—those places that stand before all of us as a prohibitive sign of darkness.<\/p>\n

The enemy says, \"You cannot go through here, you are going to get burned.\" But the voice of God opens a door through every impossible way before us. Everything that we think we cannot do, God addresses: \"Now, hear My voice and let My Spirit lead you. Watch where I will take you.\"<\/p>\n

\"The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth, and strips the forests bare<\/em>\"(Psalm 29:8–9). As co-laborers now with Christ, we are called to speak for Him. God does not need us, but He has chosen to use us. He could have angels floating through the air preaching the gospel in America. He could have cats preaching on the street corners. He could do whatever He wants to do, but He has chosen to speak through us. We are His Body and He has chosen to call us to speak again to this barren, lifeless wilderness called planet Earth. Our part is to speak and believe; His part is to cause new birth to come. He strips bare those things that try to hide people from His presence.<\/p>\nGOD'S VOICE THROUGH HIS PEOPLE<\/span>\n

We are called to speak to this world, not just about God, but actually with the voice of God speaking through us. Consider Acts 2 where we see a hundred and twenty weak believers who were failures. They made promises they could not keep and spoke of a love and loyalty that failed them when Christ needed them most. Yet they gathered in an upper room, having received a word from God: \"Wait, and the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will be given power\" (see Acts 1:4–8). The Spirit of God and the Word of God began moving together once again, just as in the beginning.<\/p>\n

\"And suddenly as they prayed, the sound of a rushing mighty wind filled the room. And cloven tongues of fire sat upon each of them\" (see Acts 2:2). Suddenly, by the Spirit of God, they stepped out of that place of hiding and stood in the open marketplace, speaking about the power of God available to every man and woman. They were speaking with an enablement of God that was obvious, for people from other countries heard them speak these mysteries in languages they knew these Jewish people had never learned. There was not only a declaration but a demonstration in their lives of the power of God.<\/p>\n

What an amazing thought! Five thousand people on their way home from the temple, a place of hearing thoughts about God, suddenly confronted by people through whom God is actually speaking. This is what we need again in our generation. As wonderful as thoughts about God are, they are not going to win the moment. This generation needs to hear the voice of God through a people who are walking in unison with Him, empowered by His Spirit.<\/p>\n

This is a whole realm of God that you cannot reach unless you are willing to be the person God is calling you to be. You cannot drag your wagon of sin with you. You must be willing to say, \"God, I need You. I need Your Spirit, and I need Your Word to govern me. I need this new life. I want You to speak through me to this generation.\"<\/p>\n

The only thing that will turn this generation is a Spirit-led, Spirit-filled, Word-centered Church of Jesus Christ, speaking what God speaks and bringing forth new life. And what do the people say in response? \"And in His temple everyone says, 'Glory!'<\/em>\" (Psalm 29:9).<\/p>\nNO RESISTANCE<\/span>\n

When people get to know the glory of God, a cry comes into their hearts: \"Oh, God, use my life for Your glory. Let me discover Your voice, and may there be no resistance in me.\"<\/p>\n

I believe this is the key: May there be no resistance in us. In Genesis 1, there was nothing that could resist God. There was nobody in this purposeless world that had the power to say \"no.\" When there was no resistance, God said to the seas, \"This is where your borders are,\"and that is where the borders were established. When He told the birds to fly, they just flew. None of them asked, \"How do we do this? Are You sure this is going to work?\" They simply did what they were told to do. When the Lord commanded the sun to shine, it shone. When He commanded light to permeate the darkness, it blazed forth. Everything that God said happened.<\/p>\n

Then humankind came on the scene. Of course, God knew when He created man in His image that He was creating beings with free will. Suddenly somebody in creation said \"no\" to God, and everything that was being created started going backwards, in a sense. But as we saw in Acts 2, there was a Genesis 1 moment again. In that Upper Room no resistance to the Word and the Spirit of God existed, which is why those one hundred twenty people were able to step out in power, and eventually even Rome was brought to her knees.<\/p>\n

When the Lord finds a heart that will not resist Him; when He finds a mind that does not have to reason everything out before undertaking the journey; when He finds one He can speak through and His Spirit can move upon, there is no limit to what God can do. Remember, \"The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness<\/em>\"(Psalm 29:8). I don't know about you, but I want to be a wilderness shaker for the rest of my days. Yes, we are living in the wilderness now. But what an incredible opportunity to see the kingdom of God advance with great glory!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"Wilderness Shakers<\/strong>,\" a sermon given on September 15, 2019<\/strong> in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc<\/strong>. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version(R). Copyright (C) 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"14":{"sm_title":"Escaping The Taskmasters","sm_id":"341","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"49575_jb_20190901.jpg","sm_date":"2019-11","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/09\/01s1\/20190901s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/09\/01s1\/20190901s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"niEl8kTv7F8","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49619_sermon-newsletter-201910-escaping-the-taskmasters.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph<\/em>\" (Exodus 1:6–8).<\/p>\n

Even though Joseph was taken into captivity in Egypt, during that captivity the presence of the Lord was on his life and he was given great wisdom. God used Joseph to spare the nation of Egypt from a great famine, which also affected all the known world at that time. The people would have died had it not been for him. However, we see in this verse that this new king did not know the history of Joseph's accomplishments.<\/p>\n

As has happened throughout history, people tend to forget where their blessing is coming from. Today in America, people are even deliberately trying to erase the past—the formation of this nation, our godly heritage, the origin of our laws and social order.<\/p>\n

The king at this time in Egypt said to his people, \"Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we<\/em>\" (Exodus 1:9). It is amazing that he recognized something the people of God no longer recognized. Similarly, do you realize that seventy-one percent of Americans today still believe in God? Do you know that the majority of people in this country still believe the Bible is a holy book? Do you understand that as we face this onslaught of godlessness, the people who still believe in God are actually more and mightier than the godless in our midst?<\/p>\n

So the king said, \"Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land<\/em>\" (Exodus 1:10). And so taskmasters were set over them to afflict them with their burdens and they were forced to build supply cities for Pharaoh. Nevertheless, the more they were afflicted, the more they multiplied.<\/p>\n

Darkness always has a strategy to keep the people of God from rising up within their society. In this case, it was a four-fold strategy. As history repeats itself over and over again, it is good for us to study the Word of God so that we can be prepared. Therefore, let's take a closer look at what happened.<\/p>\nA FOUR-FOLD STRATEGY<\/span>\n

The first strategy was to keep the people of God convinced that they were fewer and weaker than they actually were, using whatever means available. It was basically a type of psychological warfare. We see this in action today as we are marginalized, ridiculed, and declared to be losing influence. Many Christians in our day have bought into the lie that we are living in a post-Christian society, which is actually not true. Yet these Christians have been convinced by the voices of godlessness that what once brought blessing to our nation is now obsolete.<\/p>\n

The second strategy was to keep the people of God focused on building things which were neither eternal nor in line with their actual purpose in the world. Remember, God told Abraham that He would bless him and his descendants to be a blessing in all the world—and that He would make His name known through them (see Genesis 12:2–3).<\/p>\n

You and I are called to build the kingdom of God. We are to be an influence every day to the people around us—bringing the savor of Christ everywhere we go. We can speak with the power and authority of God. But there are taskmasters who sometimes come into the house of God, causing the people to focus on building things that are of no eternal value.<\/p>\n

I am sure there were motivational speakers there telling the Hebrews, \"Wow! That is a really nice pyramid you just built! I can hardly wait to see the next one.\" So they continued hauling bricks and building buildings, though this was not their purpose on the earth. Their purpose was to bring glory to God; to be a people who were a wonder, causing others in society to say, \"Who is their God and how do they get to be such a people?\"<\/p>\n

The third strategy was to threaten them. \"Also the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, 'Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as before?'<\/em>\" (Exodus 5:14). In other words, \"Do things our way. Do no more and no less than what we tell you to do or it will get very, very hard for you.\" Perhaps you live in a work environment that is just like that. You are told to keep your mouth shut, and everything will go well. If a discussion about marriage comes up in the lunchroom, you have been trained not to share your biblical worldview or things will be very difficult for you.<\/p>\n

Lastly, and worst of all, go after their children—their future, their source of strength. Pharaoh instructed the Hebrew midwives, \"When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live<\/em>\" (Exodus 1:16). And when that failed, the decree went out to the people of Egypt that if they saw a male child who had survived out of the womb, they were to throw him into the river (see Exodus 1:22).<\/p>\n

This is essentially what is happening in our day. Our children are being murdered inside as well as outside the womb. Others are being thrown into the river of confusion— forbidden to pray, becoming genderconfused, and becoming radicalized by Marxists against both God and country in their schools. God help us to recognize the evil of this moment and declare, \"Enough of this!\"<\/p>\nWHEN GOD'S PEOPLE CRY OUT<\/span>\n

The good news is that when God's people rise up and cry out to Him, His heart explodes with the desire to show Himself powerful and compassionate once again. We see this in Exodus 3 when the Lord said to Moses, \"I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows<\/em>\" (Exodus 3:7). God was saying, \"I am not distant from their struggles. I am not far away somewhere and merely receive a report of their cries. No, I have heard them Myself!\"<\/p>\n

\"I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites<\/em>\" (Exodus 3:8). It would be the same as God saying to you today, \"Some power of darkness is occupying the place where you are supposed to bring glory to Me. But I have heard your cry and I am going to raise you up. You are going to drive every last one of them out of that place where you belong, and you are going to become the person that I have called you to be.\"<\/p>\n

\"Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt<\/em>\" (Exodus 3:9–10).<\/p>\n

God was about to show them the way back to victory. Try to picture it: You have been in captivity for hundreds of years—marginalized, ridiculed, made to serve with rigor. And you have taskmasters over you. But you call out to God, and one day the answer comes walking into town—an 80-yearold man with his 83-year-old brother! All Moses had was a stick in his hand and a one-line sermon: \"Let My people go that they may serve Me in the wilderness.\" God was showing them the same thing He is trying to speak to us again today—that His strength begins when our strength ends.<\/p>\nINSTRUCTIONS FOR THE EXODUS<\/span>\n

Later, in Exodus 12, we find God's specific instructions for their deliverance, which is very similar to the instructions that He would give to us today. The Lord spoke to Moses: \"Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household'<\/em>\" (Exodus 12:3). In other words, \"Start eating of the lamb in your own house. Get into the Word. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life.\" Jesus Himself said to His disciples, \"If you do not eat of My flesh, if you do not eat or partake of the victory I am winning for you, you will have no life in you.\" We must get back into the Word of God in our homes. Do not rely on somebody else's revelation, but read the Bible yourself. If you have a hard time, ask God to give you the ability to comprehend it.<\/p>\n

Next, they were told to reach out to their neighbors. \"And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb<\/em>\" (Exodus 12:4). When you start getting into the Word of God, you will find a supply—promises, vision and hope for the future. Soon it will begin to overflow. And when that happens, do what God told these people to do—reach out to somebody who has nothing and invite them into your fellowship. Get into community.<\/p>\n

\"They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it [the lamb]<\/em>\" (Exodus 12:7). Set yourself apart for God. Don't live with one foot in the church and one foot in the world. Choose this day whom you will serve. Put the blood of the Lamb on the doorpost of your house and say, as Joshua did, \"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord<\/em>\" (Joshua 24:15).<\/p>\n

\"Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it<\/em>\" (Exodus 12:8). Leaven always speaks of hypocrisy. In other words, \"Eat the Word of God without hypocrisy; eat the bitter with the sweet. Read it all—the things you want to read and the things you don't want to read.\"<\/p>\n

He continued, \"And thus you shall eat it; with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand<\/em>\" (Exodus 12:11). If you are going to do these things, get ready for a journey. Your life is going to change!<\/p>\n

God is going to take you to a place that belongs to you—a place He has ordained for you. He will give you power, and you will be able to conquer all by the presence of God that goes with you.<\/p>\n

And so my question for you today is: Would you like to escape the taskmasters? That is essentially what Moses had to ask the people. Are we going to let our children be taken captive, killed, thrown into the river? Are we going to stand by while our families are destroyed? Are we going to let the unrighteous dominate our future and further marginalize and oppress the people of God? Or are we going to rise up, take our place, and proclaim, \"I am going with God!\"<\/p>\n

If that is the cry of your heart today, just watch what God will do. He will start fighting your enemies. New strength will come into your life and new vision will come into your eyes. Compassion will flood your heart, you will walk with God-given authority, and many people will be set free!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"Escaping the Taskmasters<\/strong>,\" a sermon given on September 1, 2019<\/strong> in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc<\/strong>. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.<\/p>"},"15":{"sm_title":"A Dry Stick At a Religious Meeting","sm_id":"339","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48989_jb_20190519.jpg","sm_date":"2019-10","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/05\/19s1\/20190519s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/05\/19s1\/20190519s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"Y29_sgx-j9Q","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49602_sermon-newsletter-201910-a-dry-stick-at-a-religious-meeting.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, 'Where is your God?'<\/em>\"(Psalm 42:1–3).<\/p>\n

Perhaps you have felt like this psalmist. You say, \"Lord, I am thirsty for You. In the midst of what seems to be a place of plenty, I have gone dry. I can barely sing my songs of praise and worship and I feel like I don't have anything left to give. What has my life amounted to? When will You speak to me? I am tired of crying at night; I am tired of going to bed with these thoughts from hell permeating my mind, saying, 'Where is your God? Why are you so dry if God is with you?'\"<\/p>\n

In the Old Testament we read of Aaron, a man likely plagued with such thoughts. He was essentially dragged into service because somebody else invited him. I don't think he was overly certain that God was the one who had initiated the ministry in his life. Nevertheless, because somebody else insisted that he was needed, he went along with the plan.<\/p>\n

Today, some people are like that in the house of God—uncertain that they personally heard the call to ministry because somebody else told them they should get involved. Now they find themselves asking, \"God, am I in the right place? And if I am, then where is the evidence of Your presence in my life?\"<\/p>\n

We see in the Bible that as Aaron went along in ministry, he made mistakes. In fact, he made a huge one when he crafted a wrong image of God before the people (see Exodus 32:2–5). This mistake was pointed out by his own brother, Moses, and subsequently by many people around him. Everywhere he went, I am sure there were whispers, \"There is the man who did that thing.\"<\/p>\n

Of course, we all make mistakes. When I was a young pastor, after having been a police officer with a bachelor's degree in law, it was natural for me to read the Bible and see the legal side of God. I saw all the requirements—all the do's and do not's. As I started traveling the country, I became somewhat masterful at discerning the underbelly of what was going on among the people because of my spiritual gifting. I could go to a church and fill the altar with weeping people. But I once said to Pastor Teresa, \"The Jesus that I preach is deficient.\" Now, I did not believe that Jesus Christ actually was deficient, but the Christ that I was preaching<\/em> was.<\/p>\n

\"Well, why do you say that?\"she asked.<\/p>\n

\"Because I am filling the same altars in the same churches, year after year, with the same people crying the same tears over the same sins and struggles,\" I explained. I realized that the Jesus I was preaching was bringing everybody under conviction of their sins and shortcomings, but He was not bringing them into a life of victory. I was so discouraged that I went away for three days to fast and pray. \"God, You must help me in this!\"I came out of that time of fasting with a message that I did not even understand and I returned home doubly discouraged. I went back to prayer and said, \"Lord, You have to show me who You really are. You must show me the other half of this coin.\" And He did. He gave me a message about the New Covenant called \"The Shout of a King.\"<\/p>\n

After I came into a deeper understanding of the grace of God, I felt so bad about my previous preaching that I had a reunion several years ago with the people I had once pastored in Canada. I also met with those who had come under their influence, and I asked their forgiveness for not preaching the full counsel of Christ to them. Yes, we all make mistakes along the journey.<\/p>\nEVIDENCE OF HIS CALLING<\/span>\n

At a certain point in Aaron's life, another generation arose whom the Bible describes as \"men of renown.\"Two hundred fifty of them rose up and essentially said to Moses and Aaron, \"Listen, you guys have had your time; it is our turn now. We hear from God just like you do\" (see Numbers 16:1–3). I can just picture Aaron standing there with his staff—basically a dry stick—in his hand. He did not have a legacy of faithfulness in the sight of God. He just had a dry stick and a somewhat ignoble history. Now before him stood leaders who were new, innovative, smart and powerful. And to add insult to injury, Moses spoke to these men, saying, \"Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against the Lord.\" And then he says this: \"And what is Aaron that you complain against him?<\/em>\"(Numbers 16:11). In other words, \"What is Aaron? I mean, I can see you rising up against the Lord, and maybe against me, but him?\" Now Aaron was being belittled by his own brother!<\/p>\n

Imagine standing there and thinking, \"Yeah, you are right. Who am I that anybody should rise up against me? I have no history of faithfulness; I have made mistakes. All I have is a dry stick in my hand.\" Now, that staff represented the calling of God, but it was dried out because it had been dead for so long with no moisture left in it. We get like that sometimes in our service to God— we just go dry, and it seems like there is no life left in us.<\/p>\n

Then God said to Moses, \"I am going to show you the evidence of whom I have called. I want every house of Israel to bring forth their staff. There will be twelve rods, and I want you to put these in the place of meeting. I will show you who belongs to Me and who does not\"(see Numbers 17:1–5).<\/p>\n

I believe God is reminding us, \"It is My choice, not man's choice. I called you; I put you where you are.\" Rest assured that you did not just randomly slide into a place. You have been led by the Lord to do everything that you have done for His kingdom. Maybe all you have left today is a dry stick in your hand and, just like Aaron, you say, \"There are so many people around who could do this much better than I can.\" Yet suddenly God says to you, \"Come meet with Me. Everybody who is called by My name, come and meet with Me. Put those dry sticks down in front of that tent of meeting, and I will show you whom I have called.\"<\/p>\n

I can see Aaron coming with his stick, just tossing it into the pile, thinking, \"Man, nothing is going to happen.\" It is like when you and I get to the point where things just seem so hopeless, yet we perform one last act of faith. \"Maybe I am called of God; maybe God did lead me to do what I am doing.\"<\/p>\n

All the rods were placed in front of the Tabernacle overnight. The next day, Moses went to the Tabernacle and \"behold the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds<\/em>\" (Numbers 17:8). The rods of all the people who had great abilities and leadership qualities were still dry, but Aaron's had sprouted and blossomed miraculously! That is the evidence of the calling.<\/p>\n

I can just picture Aaron walking through the camp, saying, \"Would anybody like an almond?\" If somebody picked one, another one would immediately appear. This man whom so many had written off was not written off by God! As he held that rod in his hand with fresh leaves coming out and new blossoms appearing every day, the scent of it must have been amazing. The people would have had to stand back and wonder at him, saying, \"How is this possible after all this man has done?\" It is only possible by the mercy of Almighty God!<\/p>\n

Sometimes you and I do not realize how gracious and involved in our lives God is until we get to the point where we are dry. Suddenly it all has to be by His power. We do not feel the best about ourselves, but we come to the tent of meeting, and the presence of God is there to say, \"Now I am going to show you who belongs to Me—whom I have called.\"<\/p>\n

That is why the prophet Isaiah cried out, saying, \"'Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,' says the Lord. 'Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited'<\/em>\" (Isaiah 54:1–3). God was saying, \"I am about to do something supernatural in you and through you—something that can be done only by My hand. All I require of you is to pick up that rod; pick up the calling that I gave you.\"<\/p>\nA SUPERNATURAL LIFE<\/span>\n

Remember, you and I are not called because we are noble. We are not called because we are strong or of royal birth. We are called because we are weak and foolish. We are called because we need the strength of God to stand in this hour.<\/p>\n

We all are aware that we are living in the last moments of time and everyone is called of God to make a difference. It is time to throw your dry stick into the pile and pray— even if you have been wondering if God really called you to be where you are. Have the courage to bring your dryness to the tent of meeting and simply say, \"Lord, if I am going to live, it is going to be You who causes me to live. If I am going to serve, it is going to be You who empowers me. If Your name is going to be brought to reputation through me, it is going to be by Your grace alone!\" After you pray, you will pick up your stick again, and it will have new life. And it is going to have fruit. The presence of God in your life will become the evidence that you belong to Him and are called by Him!<\/p>\n

Remember, nobody did anything to those rods outside the tent of meeting—God did it all. All we do is admit our condition and bring our dryness to Him, and then He does everything else. He brings the blossoms, He brings the fragrance, He brings the ripe fruit—He does it all! That way, no one can glory in anything but Him. So let's believe God for this promise of a supernatural life—the very life of God being lived inside of us, bringing healing and hope to this generation!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"A DRY STICK AT A RELIGIOUS MEETING,\" a sermon given on May 19, 2019 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version. Scripture taken from the New King James Version(R). Copyright (C) 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.<\/p>"},"16":{"sm_title":"When Fathers Come Home","sm_id":"337","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"49030_jb_20190616.jpg","sm_date":"2019-09","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/06\/16s1\/20190616s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/06\/16s1\/20190616s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"8aBAOKByD1M","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49579_sermon-newsletter-201909-when-fathers-come-home.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 30:1–3).<\/p>\n

What happens when men of God seek refuge in places where God clearly has not called them to go? In this case, it all began with faulty reasoning. Those who carried the anointing of God—signified by the anointing on David, the man who was called to be king—began to be pursued. This is a type of when society turns against the men of God, which is what we are seeing in our day.<\/p>\n

David was called to rule and bring glory to the name of God, but eventually he grew tired of the constant battle and determined, \"Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 27:1).<\/p>\n

This is a picture of righteous men becoming tired of fighting—tired of trying to stand up and be godly, tired of constant opposition. And so the thought comes into the heart, \"Well, I will just back away a little. I won't be quite as radical or as vocal about the things I know are true, the anointing on my life, the place that God has promised to take me. I am just totally worn out.\"<\/p>\n

I understand we all get tired. We have been in a battle since the day humankind declared war on God. Jesus warned all His followers that in this world we will have tribulation (see John 16:33). No doubt about it, as a man of God, you are going to be opposed. There is going to be a fight for what God has called you to do. Yet the worst decision that can be made is the one once made by King David and the six hundred men who followed him. They essentially concluded, \"We are so tired of constantly being opposed. Let's just back away and make peace with our enemies.\"<\/p>\n

And so David and his men sought a false refuge. It is almost unthinkable that they ended up on the wrong side of the battle, aligned with the Philistines—those who were determined to destroy the testimony of God through His chosen people! It was all summarized back when the Philistine giant, Goliath, stood on that other side of the valley and taunted the Israelites, saying, \"You will serve us!\" (see 1 Samuel 17:8–10).<\/p>\n

What voice are we facing in this generation? \"You will serve us, men of God. You will bend your knee to us. You cannot fight against us. We are too strong for you!\" This world is in open warfare against Jesus Christ and, therefore, against men of God. The devil knows that as men, we are called to lead and protect. We are called as conquerors; we have power in our speech. We are called to defend our families; speak into the lives of our children; defend our communities; stand up for those who have no voice to speak for themselves. We are not called to cower or just read our Bibles in the bathroom where nobody can see us. We are called to study the Word of God and stand as a bold declaration of righteousness!<\/p>\nGET UP AND GO HOME<\/span>\n

After a season of being in the enemy's camp, eventually things take a turn. \"The princes of the Philistines said, 'What are these Hebrews doing here?' And Achish said to the princes of the Philistines, 'Is this not David, the servant of Saul king of Israel, who has been with me these days, or these years? And to this day I have found no fault in him since he defected to me'<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 29:3). This is a prince of darkness talking about the man who was the Christ-type in the Old Testament! He was essentially saying, \"We have not opposed him; we have offered him protection and peace. And all he had to do was defect from the side of God and join us.\"<\/p>\n

Then Achish called David and said to him, \"Surely, as the Lord lives, you have been upright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the army is good in my sight. For to this day I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming to me. Nevertheless the lords do not favor you. Therefore return now, and go in peace, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 29:6–7). The very same thing is happening in our generation and will continue to increase in the days ahead: God is causing this world to reject you as a believer in Jesus Christ—which is the best thing that could ever happen to the Church! Remember, you do not belong to the world. If you cannot figure it out for yourself, the Lord will use the people who live in darkness to tell you, \"We do not want you here anymore. Go back home.\" In other words, \"If you believe in traditional marriage, if you believe in the sanctity of human life, there is no place for you with us anymore. If you hold to a biblical worldview, you are no longer welcome here!\"<\/p>\n

As we saw in our opening scripture, David and his men came home to Ziklag to find that it had been burned with fire and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive (see 1 Samuel 30:1–2). Do you wonder why our children are gender-confused in their schools? Why we are now having the discussion of murdering children even after they are born? Why prayer is not allowed in our high schools? Why Marxists are radicalizing young people in our colleges throughout this country? It is because the men of God have not stood up and been what men of God are supposed to be. It is not time to let our sons and daughters be taken captive by a godless agenda that will eventually cause the destruction of our whole society. No, it is time for men to stand up and declare what the Word of God says—unabashedly and unashamedly!<\/p>\n

The scripture continues, \"Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, 'Please bring the ephod here to me'<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 30:6–7). The ephod was the garment of prayer that priests wore. In other words, \"I am going back to prayer, and I am going to find the will of God.\"<\/p>\n

\"David inquired of the Lord and said, 'Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?' And He answered him, 'Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all'<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 30:8). So David set off with the six hundred men who were with him. Eventually, two hundred of them were so tired that they could not go on, so he continued the pursuit with the remaining warriors. God began to divinely lead them, and they came upon those who had captured their sons, their daughters and their wives.<\/p>\n

\"There they were, spread out all over the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of the great spoil which they had taken from the land to the Philistines and from the land of Judah. Then David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled. So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 30:16–19).<\/p>\n

One more time, God came in supernatural power. Although David and his men were vastly outnumbered, they were not concerned, because they had received a word from God. They had been in prayer and the Spirit of God had come upon them, enabling them to courageously fight for their families. And they recovered all!<\/p>\nCALLING ALL MEN<\/span>\n

The prayer of my heart today is, \"Lord, give us a spiritual awakening in this nation. Raise up warriors once again—men who are not afraid; men who will escape the captivity of trying to preserve themselves. Raise up men who will run for public office or stand in pulpits and speak; men who will open the Bible in the morning and speak to their families. Let the voice of righteous men be heard once again in the workplace and in our communities.\"<\/p>\n

Our only hope for this nation is a spiritual awakening, but it will not happen without men being men. To the men who are reading this newsletter: You cannot wait for the women to lead it. Yes, they will be an essential part; yes, they will be in the battle with you. But you cannot wait for them to take leadership of this. It is time to be a man. Take a stand for what is right. Be bold and believe God for your family, your home, your community. That is the call of God on your life in this generation.<\/p>\n

As you start to pray, God will begin to lead you. And as God leads, suddenly you will realize that it is not all about preserving yourself, your image, your job. As Malachi said, you will begin to see children all around you who are looking for fathers. The promise of God in the last days is that if you will stand, the hearts of the children will turn to you as your hearts turn to them (see Malachi 4:6). You will have an influence in so many lives that it will stun you. God will bring the children your way.<\/p>\n

Remember, all God has ever looked for is a voice. Even in Ezekiel's day, He said that the land had become so corrupt that \"I sought for a man among them who would ... stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one<\/em>\" (Ezekiel 22:30). Just one man who would stand—that was all He was looking for. Sadly, He could not find even one. But by God's grace, I hope today that He has found you willing to stand— willing to pray and believe that we have the power to take back our children, our families, our nation!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"WHEN FATHERS COME HOME,\" a sermon given on June 16, 2019 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version. Scripture taken from the New King James Version(R). Copyright (C) 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.<\/p>"},"17":{"sm_title":"Pray While You Still Can","sm_id":"335","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"49010_jb_20190602.jpg","sm_date":"2019-08","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/06\/02s1\/20190602s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/06\/02s1\/20190602s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"grwm-HOeDf0","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49557_sermon-newsletter-201908-pray-while-you-still-can.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

If I walked by your house in the middle of the night and saw it on fire, yet I did nothing to warn you or try to save you, I would not really be a good neighbor. In the same way, if I did not care about you, I would not write this message. But because I do care, and I want to see the face of every one of you at the throne of God one day, I will, as the Apostle Paul said, \"not refrain from preaching to you the whole counsel of God\"(see Acts 20:27).<\/p>\n

Sometimes it is hard to hear truth because, apart from the Spirit of God, we are in some measure or another at war with God. We want God to accept our behaviors, our lifestyles, our ways of viewing eternity. I believe we will soon see this on an incredible scale in society. Mind-boggling lawlessness is breaking out in the world today and it is only going to get worse. Therefore, it is imperative, as followers of Christ, that we walk in truth, agreeing with the Word of God.<\/p>\n

King David said in Psalm 32: \"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit<\/em>\" (Psalm 32:1–2). Some of you might be wondering why you have been feeling so heavy lately. It could be because the hand of God is on you, and He is trying to speak something to your heart that you have been resistant to receive.<\/p>\n

We see in these verses that we are blessed when we do not try to hide our failed condition from God, when we are willing to say as King David did, \"Search my heart and know me. Try me, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the path of life everlasting<\/em>\" (see Psalm 139:23–24). If we search ourselves, we will always come out smelling like a rose. We will always justify that which God does not justify; we will call something that is deficient \"whole\" and eventually, something that is evil \"good.\"<\/p>\nWho Will Not Inherit the Kingdom Of God<\/span>\n

Paul warned, \"Do not be deceived. Do you not understand that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?<\/em>\"(see 1 Corinthians 6:9–10). He was addressing believers in Christ who were having a hard time letting go of former practices and truly entering into this new life that had been offered them through Christ. When Paul said, \"Do not be deceived,\" he meant, \"Do not let anybody teach you otherwise; do not let your own heart convince you that there is no longer any penalty for sin.\"<\/p>\n

Let's look at some examples Paul gave of \"the unrighteous\" who will not inherit the kingdom of God. When he said, \"neither fornicators,<\/em>\"he meant people who engage in sexual intercourse outside the bonds of marriage between one man and one woman. You can try to push it away and say, \"Well, God knows that I'm not married and He understands I have physical needs.\"But Paul says, \"Don't be deceived. Fornicators do not inherit the kingdom of God.\"<\/p>\n

He continued, \"nor idolaters<\/em>\"—people who have other gods, or worship something other than Jesus Christ; \"nor adulterers<\/em>\"—people who have affairs outside of marriage. It starts with a little flirtation in the office, and the next thing they know, they are in a motel somewhere. \"Nor homosexuals, nor sodomites<\/em>\"—both lesbians and gays. Of course, we are talking about people who willfully continue in these practices, not those who may be predisposed to having a certain attraction to somebody of the same sex. However, even if that is the case, God will give them the power over that sin.<\/p>\n

It does not have the right to dominate their life anymore. The list continues: \"nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers<\/em>\"—people who live throughout the day just cursing everybody unlike themselves; \"nor extortioners<\/em>\"—people who use others for their own advantage. According to the Word of God, none of these people will inherit the kingdom of God.<\/p>\n

In the Book of Galatians, Paul said, \"Do not be deceived. Whatever you sow, you are going to reap. If you sow to the flesh, you will reap destruction. If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap life<\/em>\"(see Galatians 6:7–8). If you try to bring that which God says is not acceptable into His kingdom, you will reap corruption. Call it what you will, it makes no difference. If God says it is wrong, you cannot make it right.<\/p>\nWashed By The Word<\/span>\n

However, there is hope! Paul continued, \"And such were some of you. But you were washed<\/em>\"(1 Corinthians 6:11). In other words, \"It is not the water of this world that has formed your thinking; it is the water of God—His holy Word.\"Yes, you may be struggling, but at least your thinking is right, and you know what direction you are supposed to be going. You have come to this pure water, saying, \"God, this is right, and everything inside of me that is unlike it is wrong.\" And so you are washed and sanctified—set apart by God—and justified by the Spirit of God. In other words, you are given the power to go on a new pathway.<\/p>\n

As Paul once said, \"I am not there yet. I am not perfected yet, but I am leaving behind what needs to be left behind and moving toward my high calling of God in Christ Jesus<\/em>\"(see Philippians 3:12). In other words, \"I am not going to make excuses for this any longer. I am not going to just call it another 'oops' and say, 'Well, Lord, thank You for forgiving me.'\"<\/p>\n

Remember, you cannot play games with a holy God. Every time you do, another layer of hardness comes into your heart, and eventually you no longer can be brought under conviction. The Bible says there comes a point when you are given over to a darkened mind. You can go to church and sing praises to God, believing somehow that this is acceptable, until you get to His throne one day and realize that is not the case. You allowed your own heart to deceive you.<\/p>\n

I am not suggesting that you have to be perfect, but you must be moving in the direction of truth. It does not mean you will never struggle with sin, but it is losing its hold and its right to dictate your direction and dominate your thinking.<\/p>\nThe Goodness Of God Leads To Repentance<\/span>\n

Returning to Psalm 32: \"When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long, for day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer<\/em>\" (32:3–4). The scripture tells us that the goodness of God leads us to repentance. God is saying, \"Lest you become content in a wrong way of thinking, I am going to put My hand on you and take away your strength. Day and night, I will not let you go.\" Perhaps that is why some of you cannot sleep. You see, in His mercy, God petitions a heart that is not set apart for Him. He woos it; He draws it. As you are going down the street, He whispers about certain attitudes and thoughts and behaviors. God will not let you go until you are finally in agreement with Him. That is the goodness of God!<\/p>\n

And if you think you cannot be forgiven, the Word of God proves you wrong. David, the great psalmist of Israel, had committed adultery with a man's wife and subsequently arranged for the man's murder. On top of that, he was a liar, and then he tried to bring this whole thing into the kingdom of God. Yet God put His heavy hand upon David until he repented. Because of his repentance and return to the Lord, David was able to write in Psalm 32: \"I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin<\/em>\" (verse 5).<\/p>\n

He continued, \"For this cause, everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found<\/em>\" (Psalm 32:6). There may come a time when you will no longer be able to pray. It is really hard to pray in the time of panic. We saw that on 9\/11 here in New York City. There is a season when God can be found. There is a season where victory can be won—a season where newness of life can become your portion.<\/p>\nSongs Of Deliverance<\/span>\n

Those who repent while they still can will be able to declare as David did: \"You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance<\/em>\" (Psalm 32:7). In other words, \"You will give me light in the midst of darkness, clarity in the midst of this baptism of confusion. You will keep me from trouble.\"<\/p>\n

The psalm then continues with God speaking in first person. \"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!<\/em>\" (Psalm 32:8–11). The end result of walking with a clean heart is an inner joy that this world knows nothing about. God will put within you a song that cannot be written by a human hand. You will have a shout in your heart that cannot be taken away by affliction or by threat or by any darkness in society!<\/p>\n

However, that means you and I must make the choice to walk in truth now; we must be quick to put away anything that offends God. We cannot simply say, \"Tomorrow I will deal with this.\"We do not know if we have a tomorrow. We do not know what the future holds. All I can tell you is that if you can hear His voice today, do not harden your heart. Get right with God. You know what that means; you know what you need to do. Start at the beginning.<\/p>\n

As you deal with whatever God has His finger on and begin to move in the direction He wants you to go, He promises to surround you, protect you, and guide you. By His grace, you will always be changing from image to image, glory to glory, day by day. Your life will be a witness for God, and you will bring Him glory everywhere you go!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"PRAY WHILE YOU STILL CAN,\" a sermon given on June 2, 2019 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting ou website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright law apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"18":{"sm_title":"He Will Show You Things To Come","sm_id":"333","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48942_jb_20190407.jpg","sm_date":"2019-07","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/04\/07s1\/20190407s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/04\/07s1\/20190407s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"LTQlHs3uui4","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49049_sermon-newsletter-201907-he-will-show-you-things-to-come.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you<\/em>\" (John 16:12–15).<\/p>\n

Here we see Jesus telling His disciples, \"I am going to win a victory for you. The Father will give me a tremendous inheritance when He raises Me from the dead. I will return to sit at His right hand, and everything that He gives me will belong to My people. The Spirit of God that I am sending to you will show you some of these things to come.\"<\/p>\n

Of course, you and I cannot see all these things right now, for there is no way we could fully understand them. According to the Bible, the moment we leave this earth and appear in the presence of God, we will know as we are known. Mysteries will be resolved and questions will be answered. We will finally realize how small our thinking has been in comparison to what God is going to reveal to us, in us, and through us. What a day that is going to be!<\/p>\n

But in the meantime, God has left us His Holy Spirit. As Jesus said, He guides us into all truth. When the Spirit of God comes into a person's life, He starts to tell us that old things will pass away, and all things will become new. He begins to unlock the Scriptures to us. He shows us a plan and a purpose that God has for our life and the abundant supply God has already given us in Christ Jesus to fully achieve everything He has called us to do.<\/p>\nBEYOND THIS WORLD<\/span>\n

As we saw in our opening scripture, the Spirit of God will also tell us about things to come that are beyond this present world. Paul said in Second Corinthians 4:18, \"We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.<\/em>\"<\/p>\n

Consider Abraham, the father of faith, who was given an incredible promise of God. \"I am going to bless you; I am going to multiply you; I am going to do something so profound in your life that you will be a blessing to the whole world\" (see Genesis 12:1–3). God then took him outside one night and said, \"Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them...So shall your descendants be<\/em>\" (Genesis 15:5). The Holy Spirit was showing him things to come, not of this world but beyond. And now you and I know that because of Christ, through his lineage, we are the fulfillment of that promise.<\/p>\n

So Abraham left home to journey to this place of promise, accompanied by his nephew, Lot. As part of the family, Lot would have been told of the profound blessing that was promised to come upon them— one that would touch the whole known world. They eventually came to a point where they had so many flocks and herds that they could not dwell in one place, for there was an insufficient supply of grass. And so Abraham said to Lot, \"Look and choose where you want to go\" (see Genesis 13:9).<\/p>\n

Lot lifted up his eyes, but only so far. He had this doctrinal perspective that all the blessing of his life would be found in this world, and so he chose his city. He went to a place called Sodom and Gomorrah and raised his family there. However, one day an enemy came in, captured that place, and took him and his family away (see Genesis 14:8–12).<\/p>\nIN A MOMENT OF TIME<\/span>\n

If we lift our eyes only so high— if this world becomes our source of supply and provision—we may be shocked to find that one day, it can all be taken away. If your happiness is because you have a car or a house, or money in the bank and a retirement plan, be warned that a day might come when it is all gone. What do you think mattered to the people on the upper floors of the towers in the World Trade Center on 9\/11 who had about an hour left to live? How high they had gotten on the financial chain? How many colleges their kids were accepted in? How many cars they had? How many countries they could visit?<\/p>\n

The Bible declares that a day is coming when everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and only that which cannot be shaken might remain (see Hebrews 12:27). It also warns, \"Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven\" (Proverbs 23:5). In another place we read, \"The fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 3:13).<\/p>\n

I remember being in full-time ministry and coming home from preaching in Eastern Canada, only to find that our house had burned down to the ground. We had renovated this old farmhouse, added on to it, and modified it. It took twelve years to finally finish it and yet everything we had worked for was gone in one moment of time.<\/p>

I have seen the Lord take away, and I have seen Him give back. In our case, we later lost our second house to toxic mold. Then we moved across the river to Hoboken, New Jersey, and were finally settled, but Hurricane Sandy came and wiped out the whole first floor. Now we live on a lake, and the bottom of our house is about five feet above the water level. I said to Pastor Teresa one day, \"What possibly could go wrong now?\"<\/p>\n

Through these experiences, I have seen something beyond what this world has to offer. We still have a nice house, but I know it can be gone in an instant. In this lifetime, relationships end, loved ones die, jobs are lost. If our security is in any of these things, even though many of them do come from God, our confidence can be shaken. We must lift our eyes higher and see something beyond this life.<\/p>\nWHAT PAUL SAW<\/span>\n

The Apostle Paul had such vision. He saw something coming in the future and that is why he could say, \"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us<\/em>\" (Romans 8:18).<\/p>\n

Paul knew that this earthly body would eventually give way to a heavenly body. He testified that he was lifted to the third heaven where he saw things that were not lawful to speak about (see 2 Corinthians 12:2). There are no words in the human vocabulary to describe them. God in His mercy gave Paul an eternal vision so that he could endure the sufferings he was appointed to endure in this life.<\/p>\n

Paul was stoned, beaten, and shipwrecked, and he finished the end of his life imprisoned with only a pen and parchment. Yet while in captivity, he wrote words to encourage others. For example, he wrote these words to the Thessalonian church, who he knew was entering into persecution: \"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words<\/em>\" (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18). Paul knew they were going to suffer, but he was reminding them that suffering is only temporary. A day is coming when God is going to look down and say, \"That's enough! Son, go get Your Bride!\"<\/p>\nWHAT JOHN SAW<\/span>\n

Consider also the apostle John— the one who leaned on Jesus' chest at the Last Supper. He described himself as the apostle whom Jesus loved. He served God all his life, and when he was about eighty years old, he was exiled to a prison on an isle called Patmos. From what I read about that prison, it was vile, cold, damp, dark, and despairing. John easily could have said, \"God, is this how You treat those who love You? I serve You all my life, and this is where I end up?\"<\/p>\n

But the scripture says that on the Lord's Day, John was in the Spirit. Remember that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will show you things to come. Therefore John, though he was in prison, could write these words in Revelation 21: \"I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea<\/em>\" (verse 1). In other words, \"There is nothing more that separates us from God and from the freedom that He has for us for eternity.\"<\/p>\n

\"I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away'<\/em>\" (Revelation 21:2–4). That is what is in store for us—no more death, sorrow, crying or pain!<\/p>\nTHE GLORY TO COME<\/span>\n

Perhaps you find yourself in a long season of suffering. Perhaps you live with varying degrees of pain— whether internal or physical—but, remember, it is all temporary. Come what may in this life—famine or disease, darkness or war, social disorder—none of it is worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Heaven is our home and an eternity with God is our future. We are going to praise Him day and night with the angels, and we will rule and reign with Christ forever!<\/p>

If you need hope today, I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to show you things to come. Ask Him for a vision beyond your present circumstances. He will help you to see that your life is but a little vapor on the scale of eternity. He will speak comfort to your heart, and you will be able to go to bed at night saying, \"Oh, what a future awaits me! Lord, what an eternity You have prepared for me!\" You will truly understand that though weeping may endure for a night, there is a guarantee that joy will come in the morning!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"He Will Show You Things to Come,\" a sermon given on April 7, 2019 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"19":{"sm_title":"Lustful Pray-ers","sm_id":"331","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48889_jb_20190224.jpg","sm_date":"2019-06","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/02\/24s1\/20190224s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/02\/24s1\/20190224s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"HOWd58sXzzU","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/49016_sermon-newsletter-201906-lustful-pray-ers.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures<\/em>\" (James 4:1–3). The original King James Version says, \"That ye may consume it upon your lusts.<\/em>\"<\/p>\n

\"Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God<\/em>\" (James 4:4).<\/p>\n

How would you like to get a letter like that? Well, as a matter of fact, you did. It came from the hand of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, given to the apostle James. Although he wrote it to the early Church, it has just as much validity for us today as it did for them.<\/p>\n

James was considered the head of the Church in Jerusalem, therefore, his letters carried much weight and authority. He wrote this particular epistle to many who had been dispersed because of persecution that arose against the Church. He was trying to convey something about what God wanted to do through their lives, yet they were having difficulty breaking away from their old way of thinking and living.<\/p>\n

This is the battle we all go through. It is very difficult to let go of old ways of thinking, old habits, old practices, old pursuits of what we assume will make us happy. We often fail to understand that we fully belong to Jesus Christ when we come to Him, and He has the right to decree what our life is going to look like. Many want this new life of Christ while retaining their love for the things of this world. Sadly, there is a theology in our generation that proclaims this to be the gospel. Yet James calls this friendship with the world adultery against God.<\/p>\nSEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM<\/span>\n

In the book of Matthew, Jesus addressed His disciples on a similar theme: \"Do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?'or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things<\/em>\"(Matthew 6:31–32). In other words, self-focus was evident in the way you used to live—in all of your pursuits. Do not let these things govern your future any longer, but \"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you<\/em>\"(Matthew 6:33).<\/p>\n

I can bear witness to this promise. Many years ago—after having given up my career, dedicating my family, and founding a church—I came home from preaching in eastern Canada to find my house burned to the ground. We lost everything; we did not even have clothes for our children, and ended up having to stay at the home of another pastor.<\/p>\n

One January morning, I went outside and said to God, \"Well, Lord, I've done my part. I am seeking Your kingdom and Your righteousness, and You said all these things shall be added to me. So I'm not going to worry about what I'm going to eat, or what I'm going to drink, or what I'm going to wear. I'm putting it all in Your hands, and I'm going for a run.\" And that is exactly what I did. I can testify today that God was beyond faithful to our family.<\/p>\n

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Seek His value system, His heart. Do not simply try to fit Jesus into your plan or your old pursuits. Seek His will for your life. There is something God has given you to do that will give glory to His name, but you will not know it until you put away these other things that want to occupy so much of our thinking and time.<\/p>\nTHE LESSON OF THE FIG TREE<\/span>\n

Looking again at our opening scripture, James said: \"You ask and you do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures<\/em>\" (James 4:3). There is no power in prayer when it is exercised toward ourselves. On the other hand, when prayer is used for the sake of other people, there is an incredible promise that Jesus Himself gave in Mark 11. Let's first take a look at what was happening before He gave the promise.<\/p>\n

Jesus was heading to Jerusalem from a town called Bethany, and He came across a fig tree. \"[Jesus] was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, 'Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.' And His disciples heard it<\/em>\" (Mark 11:12–14).<\/p>\n

Remember, the whole purpose of Jesus' coming to earth was to die for the sins of humanity. He came to break the bondage of sin, hell and darkness, and to give us a new life. He was to leave us on the earth empowered by His Holy Spirit as a witness of who He is before bringing us home again to Him for all of eternity.<\/p>\n

Now, if His focus had been on Himself when He walked up to that fig tree and was hungry, He would have just said to the tree, \"By this time tomorrow when I pass by again, you will have fruit!\"That is what some of us would do. In fact, He could have just commanded, \"Bear fruit right now,\"and the tree would have done so. But you see, it was not about Him.<\/p>\n

The fig tree, in my understanding, represents the effort of the whole of humankind to cover itself with fig leaves, just as Adam and Eve once did in the Garden of Eden. It is humanity's effort to be righteous or clean in the sight of God by human effort, human will, human ingenuity—believing the lie that in ourselves, we can be as God is and judge what is good and what is evil.<\/p>\n

So as Jesus walked up to that tree, I am convinced that He was looking at Adam and Eve back in the Garden, covered with fig leaves instead of the glory of God. And He says, \"Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.<\/em>\" In other words, \"I am destroying your power to deceive. I am destroying your power over humankind that causes men, women and children to believe that in themselves, they can be godly. I am going to the cross, and I am going to destroy this power of arrogance that entered the human heart. I am going to make a way into eternal life for everyone who comes to Me, believing.\" You see, when He cursed that tree, it was not about Him, it was about us!<\/p>\n

Now from there He went into the temple—the place where God's presence was supposed to be on the earth. It was a place where God had set apart a people for Himself, just as you and I are meant to be in our generation.<\/p>\n

\"Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, 'Is it not written, \"My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations\"? But you have made it a den of thieves'<\/em>\" (Mark 11:15–17). When Jesus walked into the temple, all he saw were tables and money changers with goats and doves. You see, when the focus is on self, it is only natural that the house of God turns into a place of merchandise and convenience. Now this is the only time in the Bible you see the tangible anger of God. Fury rose up in the heart of the Son of God because of what self-focus had done to the house of God—a casual treating of what we are called to be on the earth.<\/p>\n

The next morning, Jesus and His disciples returned and saw the fig tree, dried up from the roots. Peter said, \"Oh, look, Master. The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.<\/em>\" (Mark 11:21).<\/p>\n

This is where Jesus makes an incredible promise: \"Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatsoever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them<\/em>\"(Mark 11:22–24). If the focus of our prayers is that people be released from the grip of delusion, then we have the power to speak to these mountains in our society today—mountains of incivility, gender confusion, immorality, violence. Jesus promises that they will be cast into the sea!<\/p>\nTHE POWER OF PRAYER REDISCOVERED<\/span>\n

I believe that in the last days, the Church is going to rediscover this incredible power we have in prayer. In fact, I believe the Church is going to finish as she began—that we are going to gather together in one accord and one spirit, just as they did on the day of Pentecost. Even if we have to first ask God to raise us out of weakness and mediocrity, to give us power over self-focus—and then to send us out into the marketplace with something supernatural. After all, James said, \"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble<\/em>\"(James 4:6). There is an incredible grace of God available when we are ready to admit that we cannot break free from self-focus without His help.<\/p>\n

James continued, \"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up<\/em>\"(James 4:7–10). In other words, if your joy is coming from other than what God has destined your life to be, then let that be taken away.<\/p>\n

Humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to replace that old value system with something new. \"God Almighty, do not let me claim to be married to You yet have a heart that is distant from Yours. Do not let the indictment of James chapter four be mine. Help me escape self-focus, and bring me into what my life is supposed to be!\"<\/p>\n

When you are found in that place of humility and surrender before God, mountains can move. It is in that place that prayers are answered and the supernatural begins to take over the natural. Hell gives way to heaven, captivity gives way to freedom, blindness gives way to sight, and pain gives way to healing! Hallelujah!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"LustfuL Pray-ers,\" a sermon given on february 24, 2019 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"20":{"sm_title":"It's Time To Go Through Your Open Door","sm_id":"329","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48895_jb_20190303.jpg","sm_date":"2019-05","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/03\/03s1\/20190303s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/03\/03s1\/20190303s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"bwR2K6oMfFE","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48966_sermon-newsletter-201905-its-time-to-go-through-your-open-door.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"So Cornelius said, 'Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.' So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God<\/em>\" (Acts 10:30–33).<\/p>\n

This was the beginning of a phenomenal moment in history. The Scripture says that Cornelius was a man with a deep reverence for God (see Acts 10:1–2). He was a generous man, a seeker of God, yet the fullness of salvation was not yet revealed to him. Nevertheless, he had an inner hunger for God and he had even gathered his family and close friends into his house. You see, when you are hungry for God, people will gather around you. They will listen to what you have to say, for they, too, are looking for hope. They are looking for a way forward in their season of struggle and amidst their own fears.<\/p>\n

\"Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins'<\/em>\" (Acts 10:34–43).<\/p>\n

Peter began to speak about how God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power. Now we do not know exactly what was going on in Cornelius' heart. We can only surmise that he was wondering something along the lines of, \"Is it possible that that could be mine? Could God also anoint me with the Holy Spirit and with power? As Christ once did, can I go about doing good and healing all who are oppressed by the devil?\"<\/p>\n

\"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 'Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?' And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord<\/em>\" (Acts 10:44–48).<\/p>\n

God is a gentleman and He does not force Himself on anybody. There must have been such a yearning in the hearts of these people that when Peter started speaking, they knew his words were divinely inspired. While Peter was still speaking, suddenly the Holy Spirit descended, and the people became God-gripped and began to speak with other tongues! In other words, the very thing that happened at Pentecost to the Jewish believers was now happening to the Gentile believers. They were speaking about the wonderful works of God with an ability that only God could give!<\/p>\nTHROUGH ONE MAN<\/span>\n

Isn't it incredible that this one man, Cornelius, became the open door to the Gentile world? Up until this point, the gospel was only for the Jew. Yet, suddenly, the door opened through one hungry heart. Cornelius could not take the gospel to the Gentile world—it would have been foolish for him to try—but God could do it through him.<\/p>\n

In the same way, when you are willing to open your heart to God's will, beginning with your own household, and then to your friends, neighbors, and even people in places you have never been, you will discover that there is no limit to what God can do through a hungry heart.<\/p>\n

When I was young I was very fearful, especially afraid of people in crowded rooms. I felt I had little to offer the kingdom of God, but I did have a hungry heart. I was walking the beat one day as a young cop, and I just started praying, \"Lord, I want to win 100,000 people to You before I die.\" Then I began to be very specific in my prayer. \"I don't want them to just be people who raise their hand in a service somewhere. I want them to be people who actually live for You and end up at Your throne. You will be able to look them in the eye and say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'\"<\/p>\n

Now at this point, I had never preached a sermon. I had no ability to speak in public whatsoever. But I had a hungry heart, and I was willing to embrace the impossible. I said, \"God, I am asking You to do something so far beyond me.\"<\/p>\n

Fast-forward many years later to when I was standing in the fields of Nigeria, in the midst of a civil war. By local estimates, there were somewhere between 400,000 to 700,000 people gathered. You could not see an end to the crowd in any direction. I remember that first night preaching to nominal Christians, Christians, and Muslims, and talking about the worthlessness of all religion that has no compassion for its neighbor. I asked people if they were willing to open their hearts to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and about 100,000 people raised their hands to receive Christ!<\/p>\n

I went back to my hotel room, and it suddenly dawned on me that in one hour, God had answered a prayer I had prayed years ago when all I had was a hungry heart. I got down on my knees beside my bed to give God thanks, and the first thing He spoke to my heart was, \"Carter, don't limit Me. Don't put boundaries around Me. There is no limit to what can be accomplished through a hungry heart!\"<\/p>\nTHOUGH YOU HAVE LITTLE STRENGTH<\/span>\n

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus spoke to a particular church in Philadelphia, saying, \"I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name<\/em>\" (Revelation 3:8). In other words, \"I know your heart hungers for Me; I know you want My presence in your life. I also know you do not have a lot of confidence in yourself or in your own abilities, but I have set before you an open door that no one can shut.\"<\/p>\n

I feel God is speaking the same thing to somebody reading this today. \"You only have a little strength, but you have kept My Word the best you knew how. You have tried to walk with Me, and you have not denied My name by allowing unbelief to grip your heart. You still believe that I can do what I say I will do. You still believe that all things are possible with Me. And so I have set before you an open door, and as you go through it, I will do something so powerful in and through you that people will have to acknowledge that I have loved you.\"<\/p>\n

Pastor Teresa and I have known this in our lives. We have not brought to you a theory about God but an experience with Him. We have walked with God and seen what He can do. He set before us an open door, and we walked through it with little strength and no idea where it was going to lead. There was a time when Pastor Teresa and I, along with a local bus driver, started meeting every Tuesday night to pray. We were simply asking God to do what only He could do in an area of Canada that had received no lasting testimony of Christ for more than 100 years. This fortysquare mile region was known as a pastoral burnout area; in fact, I was told that nothing anybody had ever tried survived there. Yet God took three people with no strength, no training, and no ability. What we did have was a hunger to see God move.<\/p>\n

I would pray, \"Lord, there are people who say it cannot be done, but I don't believe that. I don't believe there is anything You cannot do! I don't believe there is any situation You cannot change. I simply refuse to believe that there is an area of the country where You cannot break through. God, for the sake of the people and for the glory of Your name, do something in this area!\"<\/p>\n

One night we broke through with a surge of joy! We knew we had passed through a veil of some sort, and the joy of the Lord that hit us was unspeakable! We were all in different areas of the living room, praying, when suddenly I started laughing. I was in the corner, thinking, \"Boy, this is so irreverent. I shouldn't be laughing.\" I tried to suppress it, but my shoulders were shaking as joy bubbled up within me. Then I turned around and saw Pastor Teresa's shoulders shaking. Then I looked at the bus driver and he was laughing, too. The joy of the Lord hit all of us!<\/p>\n

Suddenly, just a little door had opened. God began to call us to go through that door, and the rest is history. Churches were established, and many people came to Christ. In fact, people are still being fed there today. Going through that door led us into many different places and, ultimately, to New York City.<\/p>\n

And so I encourage you to yield to God's plan for your life. You have no idea what He is willing to do through you. He has something in mind that is so much bigger than anything you ever thought your life could amount to. But it starts with a hungry heart and then one little step of faith, and then another step. Just keep going through every door He opens, and He will give you His Word, His plan, and His Spirit. He will fill you with courage, and you will be amazed at the difference your life will make in this generation!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"IT'S TIME TO GO THROUGH YOUR OPEN DOOR,\" a sermon given on March 3, 2019 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"21":{"sm_title":"Pushing Back This Present Darkness","sm_id":"327","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48860_jb_20190127.jpg","sm_date":"2019-04","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/01\/27s1\/20190127s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2019\/01\/27s1\/20190127s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"R2-obSeHjTg","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48937_sermon-newsletter-201904-pushing-back-this-present-darkness.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

In Acts chapter two, we read of an incredibly dark time. Jesus Christ had just been put to death, and a blood lust remained among the people, who were in no mood to endure Christ's followers. History seems to be repeating itself in our day as we, too, find ourselves living in a society that is growing ever darker. Yet we see in Acts that God found one hundred and twenty people—ordinary people like you and me—who simply said, \"Lord, I want to make a difference in this dark hour.\"They believed that despite their insufficiency, God promised them power to be a testimony on the earth. And so they gathered together and began to pray. The Bible says, \"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place<\/em>\" (Acts 2:1).<\/p>\n

Once again, God is looking for those who believe their lives can make a difference in pushing back this present darkness. And just as the disciples in the book of Acts, we must be found \"with one accord\"—walking in unity with God and with His people.<\/p>\nFrom Unity To Disunity<\/span>\n

Now the history of man's relationship with God began with perfect unity. When God created Adam and Eve, He would come down to the Garden of Eden and walk with them in the cool of the day. God set the boundaries, Adam and Eve walked inside those boundaries, and there was fellowship between God and man.<\/p>\n

However, God had a sworn enemy—Satan—who hated the fact that he was exalted less than God. Described as a cunning serpent (see Genesis 3:1), Satan not only hates God but mankind, who was created in His image. Jesus said that he comes to \"steal, and to kill, and to destroy<\/em>\" (John 10:10). That was his mission in the Garden of Eden, and that is what he continues to do to this day.<\/p>\n

In order to accomplish his purpose, Satan knew that he had to begin by breaking that bond of unity between God and man. Therefore, he convinced Adam and Eve that they could ignore the boundaries God had set and, instead, determine by themselves what standards of right and wrong were acceptable. Let's take a moment to look at some of the consequences—many of which still impact us today.<\/p>\nConsequences of Disunity with God<\/span>\n

When humankind sinned and broke unity with God, the first thing they realized was that they were naked (see Genesis 3:7). Thus, the preoccupation with nakedness was introduced and, by extension, the origin of sexual sin—which has plagued every generation up until this present day. This preoccupation with nakedness has spawned the multibillion-dollar pornography industry and it is all rooted in separation from God.<\/p>\n

In the very next chapter of Genesis, we see the introduction of envy, hatred and murder. Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel, who brought sacrifices to the Lord, but only Abel's sacrifice was accepted by God. Seething envy and hatred took hold of Cain's heart and subsequently led him to murder his brother. When the Lord came to him and asked, \"Where is your brother?\" he nonchalantly replied, \"How should I know? Am I my brother's keeper?\" (see Genesis 4:9).<\/p>\n

And so we see yet another consequence of separation from God—it leads humankind to commit murder without conscience. When the religious crowd around Jesus claimed to be the children of Abraham, he said to them, \"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning<\/em>\" (John 8:44). In other words, \"You want your own rules; you want no boundaries; you want your own way—and you will kill to get it.\" That is exactly what happened; eventually they killed the Son of God in the name of religion. It was the beginning of mankind wanting his own way, even to the point of taking the life of anyone who got in the way of those objectives.<\/p>\n

Is there a more glaring example today than the recent law on abortion that was passed in New York State? Not only was the law passed but state legislators were literally patting each other on the back and smiling as they signed into effect a law permitting the slaughter of the innocent. In many cases, it is a license to murder for the sake of convenience. We read God's warning in the Old Testament about the abomination of the nations: Molech—a pagan god to whom the people would sacrifice their children (Leviticus 18:21). What makes us any different now in this generation?<\/p>\n

Not too far down the road, as the earth was repopulated after the Great Flood, we see humanity still on this quest to be as God. The people said, \"Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves<\/em>\"(Genesis 11:4). They began to build a tower to prove to the whole world that they could reach the heavens by their own strength. However, the Lord came down, confused their speech, and scattered them abroad. Here we see the introduction of yet another consequence of disunity with God: a level of division among people so severe that they could no longer communicate with one another.<\/p>\n

Look at our society today. Envy, hatred, murder, evil speech, and lying have become the order of the day. There is division in our society on almost every level. I do not think anybody can suggest that there is any ability to communicate anymore.<\/p>\nTHE TREE OF LIFE REGAINED<\/span>\n

And so the question arises: What can you and I do to push back the darkness of this hour? First of all, now that we recognize disunity with God is the root of the problem, we must recognize that the cross is God's invitation for us to return to Him. When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, humankind lost access to the favor, promise, hope, and life of God. However, it was not a coincidence that Jesus was crucified on a tree. The cross is the tree of life regained—the way back to unity with God. Now everyone who wants to come to Him can. The Lord is willing to forgive and cleanse us from all sin—the preoccupation with nakedness, the envy, the murder, the lies, the duplicity, the stepping on other people for personal advantage—whatever may have settled in our hearts.<\/p>\n

There is a covering for sin and shame for all who are willing to live God's way. He offers us mercy, hope for the future, and life with purpose. This means you and I can go to the cross and say, \"God, I do not have the love I need for this generation.\" On the cross, captivity was taken captive, and gifts were given to men (see Ephesians 4:8). God says, \"Walk in unity with Me and partake of Me, for I have all the love you will ever need to reach the unlovable and make a difference in your time.\"<\/p>\nBe Filled With The Spirit<\/span>\n

Secondly, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit. When the people built the tower, they lost the ability to communicate and relate with one another. But we see what happened in Acts chapter two:<\/p>\n

\"When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.<\/em>\"<\/p>\n

\"And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, 'Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?'...So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'Whatever could this mean?'<\/em>\"(Acts 2:1–8, 12).<\/p>\n

When the disciples finally realized that it was not by might nor power but by the Holy Spirit, suddenly God came and filled the whole house. What was the immediate fruit? What had been lost at the tower of Babel was regained! The disciples stepped out into the marketplace, now with the ability to communicate once again with people of other cultures and tongues.<\/p>\n

Peter stood up and boldly proclaimed the gospel to the crowd, and \"they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.' And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation.' Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them<\/em>\" (Acts 2:37–41).<\/p>\n

At least three thousand people were added to the kingdom! You see, the one hundred and twenty disciples were brought out of the natural into the supernatural. They were back in unity with God, living within the boundaries He had set. As a result, their hearts were enlarged, their mouths were opened, and they started to speak in a way that they had never spoken before. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. When unity with God returns, suddenly you find yourself with the divine ability to speak to people you were never able to speak to before. You find yourself in foreign fields, in places and neighborhoods that you are not familiar with, communicating by the power of God. Suddenly people around you are standing in wonder, asking, \"Where did you get the power to do this?\"<\/p>\nYou Can Make A Difference<\/span>\n

It is amazing to think that not only were three thousand added to the kingdom that day, even mighty Rome bent her knee to Christ. It was all because the hand of God was upon one hundred and twenty ordinary people who decided to come back to a place of unity with Him and one another. That is why I believe the godless ideologies of this moment can also be brought to a place of surrender to Christ. However, it depends on you and me and what we choose to do. We all have a vital part in this.<\/p>\n

Do not be sold short of what God has for you. He has promised you eternal and abundant life. It is time to pray, \"Lord, let my life make a difference. Don't let me just be a mediocre player in this incredible, divine moment in history. I want to walk in unity with You and with people. I want to walk within Your boundaries; I do not want to set my thoughts above Your thoughts. Let my life be so full of Your love, mercy and miracle-working power that it will push back this present darkness!\"<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"PUSHING BACK THIS PRESENT DARKNESS,\" a sermon given on January 27, 2019 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"22":{"sm_title":"Why Am I So Down?","sm_id":"325","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48780_jb_20181125.jpg","sm_date":"2019-03","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/11\/25s1\/20181125s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/11\/25s1\/20181125s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"RHGyj6Shojs","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48893_sermon-newsletter-201903-why-am-i-so-down.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, 'Where is your God?'<\/em>\"(Psalm 42:1–3).<\/p>\n

Just like the psalmist, I believe many people have this question today: Why am I so down? What happened to my former joy?<\/p>\n

He continued, \"When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me<\/em>\" (Psalm 42:4). In other words, \"God, what happened to me? I remember the days when I would go to church whenever the doors were open. I was so thankful. I felt Your presence all around me and could not wait to come back to the house of God. I was excited to get up every morning and open my Bible. How did I lose this? Why am I so down?\"<\/p>\nAn Evil Report<\/span>\n

I will address three possible reasons why many Christians suffer from discouragement today. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, and I will not be including physiological reasons.<\/p>\n

The first reason is because they are receiving an evil report about themselves. In the days when God was bringing His people out of captivity and into a place of promise, He sent twelve spies into that land. When they returned, ten of them said, \"It is everything God says it is. There is so much fruit in that land that when we cut just one bough of grapes, we had to put it on a beam between two of us to carry it back here. It is a land with supernatural provision. But it is not for us. There are giants in the land, and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight\" (see Numbers 13:23–30).<\/p>

On the other hand, two of the twelve spies agreed with God and said, \"Yes, we can go in. Everything the Lord has promised us is ours! It is not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit. We will not win this victory by any of our own strategies. We will win it because God told us it is ours!\"(see Numbers 13:30). However, the people believed the evil report of the ten spies, and as a result, \"the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night<\/em>\" (Numbers 14:1).<\/p>\n

It is so important that you and I put away all these other voices. The voice of our own heart will often condemn us, saying, \"Who do you think you are to believe for these things? You know your many failings.\" And add to that the demonic voices coming from seemingly every side, saying, \"Yes, the promises of God are true, but not for you because you are too weak. They are not for you because of what you did in the past.\" However, you must remember that the devil is the father of all lies. He would not tell you these things if they were actually true.<\/p>\n

We must learn to open the Bible and declare, \"By the power of Your Spirit, I will become everything that You have promised I will be. I believe that when You died and were raised again, You took captivity captive and gave gifts unto men, including me. You gave me the ability to do things that I could never hope to do in my own strength. You gave me power to go where I could never hope to go by my own ingenuity. You gave me a calling by which You choose to glorify Your own Name. Therefore, I choose today to believe the report of the Lord!\"<\/p>\nDrifting<\/span>\n

A second cause of spiritual despair in a follower of Christ is drifting. Many people come in and begin their walk with Christ with youthful exuberance. The psalmist said, \"When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast<\/em>\" (Psalm 42:4). How many people in the Body of Christ today have this testimony? \"I used to go. I used to be. I used to have. I used to love.\"Everything becomes \"I used to\"—just like Solomon, the former king of Israel. He was given a great task on the earth: maintaining the manifested glory of God and a place of prayer and worship. In order to fulfill his assignment, he was given giftings of God, just like you and I have received. According to the Word, Solomon was given wisdom unparalleled by any man before or since.<\/p>\n

He started his ministry in simplicity —in personal prayer at night. In that time of personal prayer, God appeared to him and said, \"Ask of Me what you would have, and I will give it to you\" (see 1 Kings 3:5). Solomon asked for wisdom, and it so pleased the Lord that He gave him not only wisdom but riches in abundance. He gave him more than he could even hope for!<\/p>\n

Kings bearing gifts came from all over the earth to visit Solomon. The presence of God was emanating through his life; it just could not get any better. When the temple was dedicated, Solomon knelt on the scaffold, raised his hands to heaven, and prayed that God would be glorified in the earth by answering the prayers of even foreigners who would come into His presence. God was so pleased with Solomon that His glory came down into that temple so powerfully that even the priesthood could not stand and minister (see 2 Chronicles 5:14).<\/p>\n

Yet, sadly, Solomon eventually grew bored—bored with familiarity, which tends to be the struggle of all of humanity. People become bored in their marriages and in their jobs because they always seem to want something new.<\/p>\n

It is almost unthinkable that Solomon, with such a great calling and all the giftings of God, began to drift. However, it is very easy to drift. In fact, it can happen so gradually that you are unaware it is happening, until one day God just seems to be far away. You go to church, and the worship is familiar but you cannot seem to touch it. You are left wondering, \"Why, God?\"<\/p>\n

You see, God has created in you a thirst to draw you back to Himself. Remember, in Psalm 42:1–2, the psalmist says, \"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?<\/em>\" If we heed that thirst and return to the Lord, we will not end up like Solomon, who at the end of his life concluded, \"All is vanity and vexation of spirit<\/em>\"(Ecclesiastes 1:14).<\/p>\nToo Great A Call<\/span>\n

The third reason why many Christians may be feeling down is because the Lord is calling them to something they have been unwilling to consider. More than once in my life it seemed as if the hand of God just lifted, and suddenly He was out of reach. I believe He does this because we fail to consider Him otherwise. He tries to speak something to us, but we are not listening. Therefore, He creates this moment where out of exasperation, we cry, \"God, where are You? What are You doing? What is happening to me? Where did my joy go?\"<\/p>\n

At that point, the Lord says, \"Okay, I am glad we are finally here together. Now we can talk about something. You see, I want to give you a joy deeper than you have ever known. I want you to experience the joy of the father when he covered his prodigal son and empowered him; he put shoes on his feet, struck up the band, killed the fatted calf, and began to dance before his whole household. I want you to know a joy that is deeper than just coming to church and asking, 'What is new for me today?' So I am going to set before you an open door, and I want you to go through it. Do not worry about how you are going to win the battle. Do not worry about the resources. Everything you need will be provided for you on this journey.\"<\/p>\n

As the psalmist said, \"Deep calls unto deep<\/em>\" (Psalm 42:7). In other words, the deep need of God is calling out to the deep resource He has planted within you. So if you have been feeling down lately, perhaps God is calling you to arise and glorify Him in a way that you have not yet considered. For many of us, our zeal was once youthful, but now God is calling us to a place of maturity where we follow Him not because we get a tingly feeling in His presence but because we know it is the right thing to do.<\/p>\n

There comes a point where childhood must be put away— that transition in the Christian life when we stop living for ourselves and start living for the benefit of others. Rather than continually seeking to have our own needs fulfilled, our joy now comes from entering into the work of Christ —the saving of the lost. That is where the lasting presence of God is found. We no longer live with only that first felt joy of salvation; we now rejoice with the angels over every soul that repents and comes to the saving knowledge of Christ.<\/p>\nA Return To Praise<\/span>\n

Although the psalmist was feeling down, notice how he ends the psalm: \"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God<\/em>\" (Psalm 42:11). No matter what he had been feeling, he had a determination in his heart to say, \"God, I will praise You again. I am done with this dryness. My testimony will no longer be 'I used to go with the multitude.' Today I am going back to the house of God and getting involved in the work of God!\"<\/p>\n

I hope that is the cry in your heart today. It is the cry of the heart that will get the victory. It is those who simply lay hold of God by faith, saying, \"I may not fully understand it all, but I will not let You go. I will not lose my joy. I am going to get involved in Your work on the earth. I am going to pray, and I am going to believe, speak, teach, and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ! And then I am going to find a joy deeper than I have ever known!\"<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"WHY AM I SO DOWN?,\" a sermon given on November 25, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"23":{"sm_title":"From A Mess To An Enduring Message","sm_id":"323","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48771_jb_20181118.jpg","sm_date":"2019-02","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/11\/18s1\/20181118s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/11\/18s1\/20181118s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"q2ijQVEib3Y","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48871_sermon-newsletter-201902-from-a-mess-to-an-enduring-message.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem<\/em>\" (Nehemiah 1:1–2).<\/p>\n

Nehemiah, now living in Persia, was asking the messengers who had come, \"What is the condition of the testimony of God among his people in Jerusalem?\" And the messengers answered him, \"The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down and its gates are burned with fire<\/em>\" (Nehemiah 1:3).<\/p>\n

The wall in Jerusalem was broken down. In other words, that which marked the separation of the people of God was down. It would be the same as somebody in our generation crying, \"Oh, God, what has happened to Your church? She used to be separate and holy; she used to pray and believe for miracles. But now why is there no line of demarcation? Why is the divorce rate as rampant in the church today as it is in the rest of the world? What happened to the fear of God in the nation?\"<\/p>\n

\"So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven<\/em>\" (Nehemiah 1:4). Here we have a picture of when the call of God begins in somebody's life. It is when people like you and me finally say, \"God, I cannot sit back any longer doing nothing. It is not right that Your name is held in reproach. It is not right that I should be living for myself while our children are being thrown into the river of confusion.\"<\/p>\n

Now keep in mind that Nehemiah had a good job. As cupbearer to the king, he was living in a foreign palace with access to the court. He had it made! But one day this report came and suddenly the Spirit of God began to move on an ordinary man to do something extraordinary for the kingdom of heaven.<\/p>\nACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY<\/span>\n

\"And I said, 'I pray, Lord God of heaven...You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes be open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandment, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant, Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name<\/em>\" (Nehemiah 1:5–9).<\/p>\n

Nehemiah not only heard God calling him to make a difference, he also accepted responsibility for the situation. He did not blame somebody else, unlike today when everyone is blaming somebody. Nehemiah said, \"My father's house and I have sinned against You because our lives are not making the difference they should. Inasmuch as I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem.\"<\/p>\n

Similarly, if our nation is perishing, it is time for you and me to accept responsibility for it. It is time we say, \"God, this is because of Your house, which I am a part of. We have not stood the way we ought to.\"After all, in the Book of Acts, one hundred twenty disciples stepped out of the Upper Room, and Rome eventually bent its knee to Christ. Yet we can have twenty churches on every block today and still not affect our community. We must take responsibility for what we have become as the people of God. If the city perishes, it is because we have not been the fullness of the testimony of God that we are called to be.<\/p>\nTWO REQUESTS<\/span>\n

What did Nehemiah do next? He began to pray that God would give him favor in the sight of this foreign king.<\/p>\n

\"Then the king said to me, 'What do you request?' So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, 'If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it.' Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), 'How long will your journey be? And when will you return?' So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Furthermore I said to the king, 'If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.' And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me<\/em>\" (Nehemiah 2:4–8).<\/p>\n

Nehemiah prayed for two things: protection on the journey and provision for what God called him to do. When I was a young believer and felt the calling of God, I would constantly pray, \"I recognize that I will be going into a spiritual conflict. Lord, protect me from everything that would come to discourage me. Protect me from every weapon of hell that will be formed against me and my family. And give me the provision I need, for I do not have what it takes to do this.\" It is still my prayer to this day. And I have found that God truly delights in giving us what we need.<\/p>\nWHEN THE MOCKERS COME<\/span>\n

As Nehemiah headed out on his journey, he encountered mockers who said, \"Well, even if he starts to build something, if a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall\" (see Nehemiah 4:3).<\/p>\n

Once again, Nehemiah turned to prayer. \"Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as a plunder to a land of captivity! Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders<\/em>\"(Nehemiah 4:4–5).<\/p>\n

When you set out to serve God and make a difference, do not be surprised when the mockers come. They may come in different forms. Some will directly accuse you of pride; others will be demonic. A voice may come to you to say, \"Who do you think you are to believe that God will use you? What kind of testimony do you think you are going to build?\" And some of the mockery will come from your heart. \"Am I really on a journey? Has God really spoken to me? Is my life actually going to make a difference?\"Yet Nehemiah did not succumb to the mocking voices. He prayed, \"God, turn their reproach on their own heads<\/em>\" (Nehemiah 4:4). In other words, \"Do something through my life that will cause these evil voices to gnash their teeth and mourn before You when they see what You have done through me!\"<\/p>\nA LASTING TESTIMONY<\/span>\n

Fifty-two days later, after battling through waning strength, accusations of false motives, and even threats of physical harm, the wall was complete. It was a miracle! \"It happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God<\/em>\"(Nehemiah 6:16). Even the enemies of God had to admit that His hand was upon Nehemiah and those who helped rebuild the testimony of God in the earth. In other words, God sent an awakening! I pray He will do the same in our generation.<\/p>\n

Later, in chapter nine, a new kind of prayer arises. The whole chapter consists of a chorus of praise for the victory. You, too, will have a \"chapter nine\" in your life if you get up today and say, \"I am going with God. I want my life to count for His name's sake—first for my family, then for the community, for the nation, and maybe even for this world.\"<\/p>\n

And then at the end of his life, we find Nehemiah praying another prayer: \"Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of God, and for its services<\/em>\"(Nehemiah 13:14). In other words, \"Don't let me be forgotten. Don't let the things that You have used me to accomplish disappear when I do. Don't let the wall be broken down again. Let it stand.\" Of course, we know God answered his prayer, for we are still talking about him thousands of years later.<\/p>\n

\"Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy<\/em>\" (Nehemiah 13:22). He was essentially saying, \"Don't let me fail at the end. You have used my life to do great good for your kingdom's sake. Let it be an enduring message of the grace of God.\"<\/p>\n

He then prays one last prayer. \"God, remember me, and let others be provoked to do good\"(see Nehemiah 13:31). It is as if God said, \"Done! Everything you have asked me for, I have given you. You were just an ordinary guy doing an ordinary job in an ordinary place, yet suddenly you heard Me calling you to do something extraordinary. You got up, and I gave you favor with the king. I protected you and I gave you provision. I kept you from fear. I did a work that could only have been done by My hand. I took you to a mess, through a mess, and at the end I gave you an enduring message.\"<\/p>\n

Can you hear this same call of God today? It starts with a stirring in your heart that leads you to pray for something impossible that only God can do. Keep in mind that Nehemiah was a cupbearer, not an architect. Yet he ended up building a wall and leading people.<\/p>\n

Remember, when the call first came to him, Nehemiah got on his donkey and headed to the mess and just surveyed it. Some of you are surrounded by a mess—in your community, your family, maybe your own life. Nehemiah spent a day just riding around on his donkey, looking at the mess. And then God gave him a plan. Likewise, God will give you a plan. He will begin to speak to your heart about what He wants to do. For some of you, it will involve an environment bigger than your own home—perhaps you will reach your community or even your nation.<\/p>\n

You are God's answer for this generation, and there is no limit to what God can do through a willing heart!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"FROM A MESS TO AN ENDURING MESSAGE,\" a sermon given on November 18, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"24":{"sm_title":"Go And Gather The Empty","sm_id":"321","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48727_jb_20181021.jpg","sm_date":"2019-01","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/10\/21s1\/20181021s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/10\/21s1\/20181021s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"JNospxav2ps","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48837_sermon-newsletter-201901-go-and-gather-the-empty.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried unto Elisha, saying, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves'<\/em>\"(2 Kings 4:1—2).<\/p>\n

This woman had once been surrounded by the Word of God—where there was power and provision, a hope and a future. Yet, for some reason, the Word of the Lord had been taken from her household. She eventually found herself alone, and one day, an evil man—for only an evil man would do what he was about to do—arrived at the door and said, \"Your children belong to me from this day forward. You do not have the resources or the power to stop me from taking them.\"<\/p>\n

We have a similar situation in our generation. The Bible tells us that \"the wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men<\/em>\" (Psalm 12:8). Who can rationally deny that vileness has raised itself up to be the standard of behavior in our modern-day society—by killing children in the womb; causing gender confusion in our young children in grade school; lying about the existence of God; forbidding our sons and daughters to pray in high school; radicalizing our young people against both God and their country in our colleges? Vileness is being exalted as righteousness, and what is good, holy and true is being cast down as evil and bigoted. And so we ask ourselves today: How do we meet this challenge?<\/p>\n

Let's start by taking a look at what happened to the widow in our opening passage. When the creditor was coming, she did what I suppose any mother would do: she shared her distress with the prophet Elisha—the only person of God left in the nation, to her knowledge.<\/p>\n

\"So Elisha said to her, 'What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house'<\/em>\"(2 Kings 4:2). Now Elisha had the power to do a lot of things, including the power of God to raise the dead. Yet he responded by turning to her and asking what she had in her house.<\/p>\n

\"And she said, 'Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil'<\/em>\" (2 Kings 4:2). The widow answered him by saying, \"All I have is a jar of oil.\" In other words, she was unaware of the power available to her if she would be willing to use what she had. Instead, she was totally focused on her distress, as is the case with many people today. \"Lord, the wicked have come and are demanding our children.\"<\/p>\n

We may become so focused on the distress of this dark hour that we are in danger of forgetting what God has already put into our hands. Just as this widow said, \"I have only a jar of oil,\" we might say, \"Oh, God, I have only my own salvation. I have only a little bit of strength left, yet this powerful force is coming to take away our hope and our future. It is taking the presence and sense of God out of the nation, and I do not know what to do. I feel like a widow. It has been so long, as a nation, since we have heard the piercing word of God. Where has the conscience of America gone? What hope do we have left? How do we stop this creditor from taking our sons and daughters and making them slaves to unrighteousness?\"<\/p>\n

Just as the widow had barely any oil left, we might have only a little bit of power left in our lives as a church age. Nevertheless, we must not forget that we are the Bride of Christ. We have access to the One who has all power and all knowledge and all authority!<\/p>\nThe Plan of God<\/span>\n

Elisha then said to the widow, \"'Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.'So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her, and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, 'Bring me another vessel.'...Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, 'Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest'<\/em>\"(2 Kings 4:3—7).<\/p>\n

The oil just kept coming! She thought she had just a small amount, but she did not realize she was connected to a supply that never runs dry! That is what a spiritual awakening looks like! When we simply believe God, even when we have only little bit of oil, we can start pouring into others around us. In fact, I believe the plan of God for our day is to gather every empty person you know and begin to pour into them. Gather your empty friends; gather your empty neighbors; and even send your children out to gather them in.<\/p>\n

Perhaps you are a single mother with two children who have you worried. Tell them to get all those friends they are hanging out with and bring them to your home. Then tell your children to say to their friends, \"I'm going to lay hands on you, and we are going to pray. We are going to believe that God will fill you with the Holy Spirit!\"<\/p>\n

The promise and the hope for our generation is God saying, \"As you take the little bit that you have and pour it into the empty places, you will discover that I am a river of life flowing from inside of you.\" After all, Jesus Himself promised, \"Come to Me, and out of your belly, out of your inward parts, will flow this river of living water\"(see John 7:37—38).<\/p>\n

When Pastor Teresa and I first got saved, we did not know any better so we started laying hands on people, and many were filled with the Holy Spirit. One time Pastor Teresa had a Tupperware party in our home and a lady brought her husband, who was hostile to the gospel. Neither he nor I wanted to be around the party, so we went upstairs. As we conversed, I simply started talking to him about what God had done for me, and suddenly he said, \"I want that in my life!\"So I laid my hands on him and started to pray. The next thing I knew, he was lying on the floor speaking in tongues! All I did was reach out with the little life that I had, and that man is still walking with the Lord today.<\/p>\n

Thank God for the simplicity of faith. No wonder Jesus told the Church of Ephesus, \"You have your theology down and are testing and proving those who say they are apostles. You have discernment and are doing a lot of good works—even more than at the beginning—but I have something against you: You have lost your first love. You have lost the simplicity of walking with God, the joy of just being a vessel through whom God can pour His life into others. If you do not get back to that, you will lose your 'candlestick'\" (see Revelation 2:1—5). In other words, if you do not use the oil you have, you will lose it. You will lose the light. Yes, you will still have your salvation and end up at the throne of God one day, but what the Lord could have done through your life to impact those around you will not happen.<\/p>\nGod's Vessels<\/span>\n

In the Book of Acts, we read of a hundred and twenty people gathered in an upper room—people who were emptied of self, essentially possessing only the oil of their own salvation. You might say they were empty vessels—empty of all sense of strength, empty of all the promises they had made to God—yet aware that their generation was about to be taken captive by the godlessness of that moment. After all, it does not get any more godless than killing the Son of God. Nevertheless, knowing their own limitations and fears, they began to pray in this upper room.<\/p>\n

I can picture God the Father talking to His Son regarding those who were seeking more of Him. God said to Jesus, \"May I borrow these empty vessels that have gathered in Your Name? May I borrow them and do something astounding through them?\" And the Son answered, \"Father, You are more than welcome to them.\" And right away, oil was pouring down into these hundred and twenty who had no strength in themselves. They left the Upper Room, walked out into the marketplace, and began pouring that oil out—and soon there were about five thousand new believers in Christ (see Acts 4:4).<\/p>\n

Think about it—the hundred and twenty did not have the New Testament; they were the New Testament! God's Spirit was in them, and they were simply being used as vessels to pour into empty people. They learned that it was not in their strength but in their weakness that God's power would be made known.<\/p>\n

And so now you can either sit at home and stare at your little jar of oil and try to survive, hoping nobody will captivate your children, or you can do what God says—go and gather your neighbors. Find them on the street corners. Start pouring into the empty places. Pour unreservedly, for you have more resources than you know. You do not have to wait for some divine moment. You do not have to wait until you feel like you are on top of the world or you have a million dollars in the bank. You can start on the street today; you can pray for somebody, somewhere, right now.<\/p>\n

This is the hope now for our nation. You will be shocked at how hungry people are today. Remember, you do not have to sit there and debate theology with them. You can simply say, \"Let me pray for you, and let God pour His Holy Spirit into your life.\" Begin to gather and pour, believe and pray, and watch what God will do in this generation!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"Go and Gather the empty,\" a sermon given on october 21, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"25":{"sm_title":"Is This Your First or Last Year?","sm_id":"319","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48689_jb_20180923.jpg","sm_date":"2018-12","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/09\/23s1\/20180923s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/09\/23s1\/20180923s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"v-b-UGznexk","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48788_sermon-newsletter-201812-is-this-your-first-or-your-last-year.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish'<\/em>\" (Luke 13:1–5).<\/p>\n

In this passage, Jesus was speaking a word of warning to His disciples as well as to those who were gathered around to hear Him. He first spoke of the Galileans, whose blood was mingled with their sacrifices. These people were in a place where they were offering some kind of religious observance, yet a sudden violence came upon them. Jesus then referred to others who were killed when a tower in Siloam fell. In a besieged city of that time, people would go up into the tower and close the doors, hoping that what they had built as a place of personal safety would protect them.<\/p>\n

In other words, sudden judgment had come upon all the people Jesus mentioned, and what they believed to be a place of safety was proven to be insufficient. However, Jesus went on to say that these people were not more evil than the rest of their society. He warned His listeners to repent, essentially saying, \"If your place of worship is not true-if it is merely a place of comfort that you have built for yourself in your own heart-it will not protect you in the coming days.\"<\/p>\n

On the same theme, Jesus continued with this parable: \"A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down'<\/em>\" (Luke 13:6–9). In other words, the owner of the vineyard said, \"For three years, I have come searching for fruit-that which can only be borne through a genuine conversion by the Spirit of God-yet I have found none. Instead, you have crafted a tower of protection in your own mind. You are still doing what you used to do and covering it up with religion!\"<\/p>\nLearning to Hate Sin<\/span>\n

We, too, would be wise to heed the lesson of this parable. Our lives must bear fruit that can come only from the indwelling presence of God. It cannot come through human sacrifice or feigned religious observance, nor does it come by crafting a place of safety in own minds. Rather, it requires a deliberate turning away from what the Word of God says is wrong to what He says is right- and trusting God for the strength to perform it. That means we must begin to see sin in our lives the way God sees it; we must hate what God hates.<\/p>\n

According to the Word of God, \"These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren<\/em>\"(Proverbs 6:16–19). We must learn to hate the sowing of dissension and discord among brothers and sisters in Christ. And we must learn to hate the racism of our day. Remember, the Bible says elsewhere, \"Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him<\/em>\" (1 John 3:15). You can try to justify it any way you want, but if you become part of this present divided society that is full of hatred and finger—pointing, the Bible clearly says you have no eternal life living within you.<\/p>\n

Now once we learn to hate sin, we must also come to the point where we are convinced that we cannot save or change ourselves. You and I cannot do good for any length of time because we are so bent on corruption inside these earthen vessels. We must recognize, as Paul did, that \"in me dwells no good thing\" (see Romans 7:18). He also understood, \"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer who I live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me<\/em>\" (Galatians 2:20). Though we deserved to die, Jesus took our place and bore our sins on that cross!<\/p>\nSons and Daughters of God<\/span>\n

Paul said it this way in the book of Romans: \"But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtor-not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God<\/em>\" (Romans 8:9–14)<\/p>\n

In the context of how it was spoken, becoming a son or daughter of God means that by the Spirit, we are led to put to death the deeds of the body. That is how you know you are truly a child of God. The Holy Spirit is moving you from the old way of living into the way that God has ordained for your life.<\/p>\n

Paul continued, \"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God<\/em>\" (Romans 8:15–16). In other words, there is an inner knowledge that we belong to God; an inner desire to move away from what hinders toward what will glorify Christ. Sure, we make mistakes, but there is a covering for those moments of frailty. Ultimately, there is that cry that comes back into the heart-\"Father, Father.\" We want to keep moving closer and closer toward God. We are not interested in building a false altar or tower of our own protection. We desire the life, fruit, and protection of God.<\/p>\nIf It Bears Fruit<\/span>\n

Returning to the parable Jesus told, notice that the keeper of the vineyard said, \"Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it<\/em>\" (Luke 13:8). In other words, \"Please, have mercy. I will do my best to dig around that tree and get down to the roots from where it draws its life source. I will not only expose its roots, but I will put something there to encourage it to grow and bear fruit.\"<\/p>\n

Like the keeper of the vineyard, I often find myself pleading for mercy for many in the Body of Christ in our generation. I am concerned about those who come to the house of God and merely want to hear all the promises of God, bypassing \"holy\" to get to \"happy.\" Their lives are not bearing fruit. They have settled for a sacrifice that will not protect-a tower that will not keep them in the days ahead.<\/p>\n

Of course, my intention is not simply to expose sin and cause people to admit, \"God, You got me. I'm a total fraud. I am charting my own course and creating my own system of truth. I have been building a tower that I believed would protect me, yet suddenly it has all come crashing down.\" If all I did was expose why it is such a fruitless tree, there would remain only a sense of hopelessness. You see, not only do the roots need to be exposed, they need to be \"fertilized\"with the ability that God gives to grow. Therefore, my desire is to offer the full counsel of God. I want to put everything around the roots necessary for each life to grow and begin to produce fruit that can come only with the help of God.<\/p>\nOne Year From Today<\/span>\n

Remember that the owner of the vineyard said, \"And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down'<\/em>\" (Luke 13:9).<\/p>\n

Here is my question to you today: One year from now, are you willing to have somebody else sitting in your seat in church? Understand, there comes a point when it is no longer your choice-a point when God says, \"I am sorry. This person cannot be reached anymore,\" and you come out from under conviction. The joy of the Lord escapes you, and thoughts come into your mind to simply dive wholeheartedly into your own pursuit, whatever that may be. Eventually you vacate your seat in church, and somebody else fills it.<\/p>\n

What a sobering thought! Is this your first or last year? This could either be your last year of sitting in the house of God-where over the next twelve months you get spiritually dull and bored-or it could be the first year of coming under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and entering into the fullness of what God has for your life. You might be so transformed a year from now that you will be telling everybody in your neighborhood what God has done. Your family, coworkers, and everyone else around you will see the change in your life.<\/p>\n

Of course, there must be a determination in your heart that says, \"Nobody is taking my place. I am not going to build a false tower and yield what God intended to do through my life.\" I encourage you to let this be your first year. Let this be the beginning of a new journey- of letting God go after everything in your life that is hindering His presence. Then allow Him to put in all the promises and provision necessary to cause your life to bear fruit for His glory!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"IS THIS YOUR FIRST OR YOUR LAST YEAR?,\" a sermon given on September 23, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"26":{"sm_title":"The Wisest Man Who Ever Lived","sm_id":"317","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"48671_jb_20180909.jpg","sm_date":"2018-11","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/09\/09s1\/20180909s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/09\/09s1\/20180909s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"X498xnIJD-U","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48743_sermon-newsletter-201811-the-wisest-man-who-ever-lived.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge<\/em>\" (Proverbs 5:1). These words were written by Solomon, King David's son. Solomon—uniquely gifted, touched, and empowered by God—was unlike any other man on the face of the earth.<\/p>\n

The book of 1 Kings tells us that the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, \"'Ask! What shall I give you?' And Solomon said... 'Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?'<\/em><\/p>\n

\"The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: 'Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days<\/em>\" (1 Kings 3:5–13).<\/p>\n

What an incredible answer to Solomon's request! There was never a wiser man before or after him. And when God said \"lengthen your days,\" He not only intended for Solomon to live long on the earth, but even after he was gone, his descendants would be like a savor that followed because of the presence of God that emanated through his life.<\/p>\n

Now rabbinic tradition holds that Solomon wrote Proverbs 5 when he was middle-aged. At this point, his wealth was the envy of the kings of his day, as he experienced unparalleled success. By this point, he had become familiar with the presence of God and seen prayer answered. There was never a lack of resources, as they came pouring in from all over. The Scriptures tell us, \"All King Solomon's drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon. For the king had merchant ships at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys. So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom<\/em>\"(1 Kings 10:21–23).<\/p>\n

God had touched this man's life and everything he put his hand to, and now he was writing the inspired text of the Word of God. Actually, I personally do not believe that Solomon was writing to his son, Rehoboam, in Proverbs 5. Rather, I believe God was speaking to Solomon and he was writing it down, for it starts, \"My son, pay attention to my wisdom.\" In other words, \"I am speaking to you because I want to teach you some things. Do not just write these words down and assume it is something I am giving you for other people. Pay attention to it so that at the end of your days, you will not be lamenting the loss of what could have been.\"<\/p>\n

Remember, God knew Solomon's future, just as God knows our future. When you and I open the Word of God, He will speak to us about certain things in our lives. If we are pursuing something that is going to cost us, something that will weaken our family or destroy the testimony of God, He will be faithful to bring it back to our attention time and again.<\/p>\n

\"For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life—her ways are unstable; you do not know them<\/em>\" (Proverbs 5:3–6). I believe that God was trying to warn Solomon, \"You are falling into a trap, and you think you are smart enough to get out of it. But you do not understand what you are dealing with. You are falling into a seduction, and you assume there will be no consequence to it.\"<\/p>\nSOLOMON'S END<\/span>\n

Sadly, despite the warnings, Solomon died a disillusioned old fool. The book of 1 Kings describes his downfall: \"But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites—from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, 'You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods. Solomon clung to these in love<\/em>\"(1 Kings 11:1–2). As a king, Solomon knew what was forbidden in the Scriptures, yet he somehow believed that the rules and warnings did not apply to him. And so he had 700 wives and 300 concubines.<\/p>\n

\"For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods<\/em>\" (1 Kings 11:4–8).<\/p>\n

If only he had heeded the words of warning he had penned in Proverbs 5: \"Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one; lest aliens be filled with your wealth<\/em>\" (Proverbs 5:7–10). That is exactly what happened—armies that subsequently came into Israel after Solomon's reign plundered the temple and took away the shields, the gold, and eventually everything—even the vessels.<\/p>\n

\"And you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed, and say: 'How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation'<\/em>\" (Proverbs 5:11–14). We see in the book of Ecclesiastes that this is exactly where Solomon finished—on the verge of total ruin. At the end of his life, all he could do was conclude, \"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun<\/em>\"(Ecclesiastes 2:11).<\/p>\n

Having built the house of God, he finished his days building heathen temples that were an abomination to the Lord. Instead of leaving the glory of God and a strong and mighty people in Israel, he left behind a very weak son and a soon-to-be divided nation.<\/p>\n

And so was the end of the wisest man who ever lived—one who had been given the promise of life and wealth and wisdom, one who knew the divine operation of God. If that does not put the fear of God in your heart, nothing will!<\/p>\nA BETTER REQUEST<\/span>\n

As Solomon's life exemplified, spiritual success today does not guarantee success tomorrow. God must be able to speak to us even when we are living in a time of victory. If only Solomon had not assumed that wisdom was enough to keep him. A lot of people today spend their time studying the Word of God and even acquire multiple degrees. This is commendable, but if you are going to do that, you would be wise to pray for a heart to obey what you are studying! I have known people with far greater knowledge of the Scriptures than I possess finish their lives in an absolute train wreck. Just like Solomon, something in their heart caused them to assume they could embrace certain things and not suffer because of it.<\/p>\n

If only Solomon had stretched his request just a little bit and said, \"God, don't just give me wisdom, but give me a heart to obey what You teach me. Give me intelligence in the study of the Scriptures, but give me the heart of my father, David, as well. He was not perfect, but he could be reasoned with and he turned from evil back to good. Oh, God, give me a heart to follow You!\"<\/p>\nASK WHATEVER YOU WILL<\/span>\n

In the book of John, Jesus spoke words which I am now taking to heart in a new way. \"Most assuredly I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you<\/em>\"(John 16:23). I consider that word from Jesus to us today to be exactly the same as when God appeared to Solomon and said, \"Ask Me for what you want and I will give it to you.\"<\/p>\n

Jesus continued, \"Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full<\/em>\" (John 16:24). To me, \"full joy\" means that I make it to a victorious end. Oh, how beautiful to finish life and be able to say, \"God, I trusted You; thank You for not letting me go. Thank You for helping me to turn in the direction You were calling even when it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Thank You for leading me to forgive when everything in me wanted to hate. Thank You for giving me the courage to walk humbly when others spoke a word of correction into my life. Thank You for giving me a heart to follow You!\"<\/p>\n

A prayer that I now pray every day is: \"Oh, Jesus, let me finish well. Help me to learn from the example of those who have gone before me. Let me not simply assume that everything is right in my life. Keep me diligent, keep me in love with Your Word!\" I encourage you to accept the Lord's invitation to ask this of Him, as well, that we all may finish our lives in the fullness of the joy that He promises!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"THE WISEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED,\" a sermon given on september 9, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"27":{"sm_title":"The Promise Of Power","sm_id":"315","sm_desc":"God is determined to have a people empowered by a spirit of prayer and praise to bring Him glory in these last days. The Holy Spirit will show us the victory we have in Christ and enable us to live a victorious life. Let God's plan take root in your life and let His Word create a path for you journey and His purposes. We need power for the sake of others who are trying to find God. We need God's Spirit every day and all day. As you go through your day stop a moment and ask God to fill you with His power. ","sm_jpg":"48583_jb_20180708.jpg","sm_date":"2018-10","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/07\/08s1\/20180708s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/07\/08s1\/20180708s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"r0mmWLorO44","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48703_sermon-newsletter-201810-the-promise-of-power.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.<\/em><\/p>\n

Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, 'Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born'<\/em>\" (Acts 2:1–8)<\/p>\n

\"We hear them speaking in our tongues the wonderful works of God.\" So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, \"Whatever could this mean?\" Others mocking said, \"They are full of new wine.\"<\/em><\/p>\n

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, \"Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel, 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved'<\/em>\" (Acts 2:11–21).<\/p>\n

The \"last days\" that the prophet Joel spoke of is a period of time that began on the Day of Pentecost—with the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit—and will culminate with cosmic signs at the return of Jesus Christ. Between those two points will be a season of redeemed, Spiritempowered people—including you and me! We were left here on Earth to be a testimony of God's love, mercy, power, and redemption. Remember, Satan hates humankind who was created in the image of God, and he will do everything he can to confound, confuse, darken, and destroy us. We as the Church are called to push back this darkness and show people that there is a way to forgiveness and everlasting life through Jesus Christ.<\/p>\n

Now this God-initiated, Spiritempowered force on Earth will be comprised of all people, for the Lord said, \"It shall come to pass in the last days...I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh<\/em>\" (Acts 2:17). So what will that look like? Let's take a brief look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the early disciples to get an idea.<\/p>\nEMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRT<\/span>\n

Shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were gathered in an upper room, and they were afraid. \"The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, 'Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.' When He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'<\/em>\" (John 20:19–22).<\/p>\n

Shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were gathered in an upper room, and they were afraid. \"The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, 'Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.' When He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'\" (John 20:19–22).<\/p>\n

Not too many days down the road, the disciples were again assembled at an upper room. However, this time God was not just going to do something inside of them to prove that He was their Father. He was going to give them power that had been prophesied in the Old Testament, which Peter referenced on the Day of Pentecost. This power would come upon men and women from all walks of life—young, old, rich, poor, rulers, servants. They would all be given an identical measure of God's Holy Spirit that would raise them out of weakness and into the supernatural strength of God.<\/p>\n

This is what happened in our opening Scripture. Suddenly, the disciples who were once weak failures burst out of the Upper Room into the marketplace, filled with the Spirit of Almighty God and given divine abilities. I love the scene! Thousands of people had just come from the temple where they were going through all the rituals, trying to make peace with God. It is like the person in church today who goes to every service, listens to all kinds of messages, attends prayer meetings, and yet still goes home with a deep sense of powerlessness.<\/p>\n

Suddenly this crowd coming back from the temple encounters 120 people who have come out of a place of prayer, declaring who God is and what He has done. They are divinely enabled to speak to people of other nations and cultures, telling them in their own language about the marvelous works of God. And the crowd is stopped in their tracks, asking, \"What must we do? What could this mean?\" (see Acts 2:4–37).<\/p>\n

This ought to be the testimony of your life and mine. When you go into your workplace, you should be so God-gripped that everybody in that office looks at you and wonders, \"How did this happen? How did he change so radically? Where did this song come from? Where did he get this ability to speak positively when such negativity is in the air? What does this mean?\"<\/p>\nTHE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT<\/span>\n

Earlier in the book of John, we find more details about the work of the Holy Spirit: \"When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth<\/em>\" (John 16:13). Now if you belong to Christ, you already have the Holy Spirit inside of you, and He promises to guide you into all truth. In other words, as you begin to read the Bible, He guides you beyond mere head knowledge and into experiencing it as a reality in your life.<\/p>\n

It is critical that we allow the Holy Spirit to do this, for we do not want to end up like those whom the apostle Paul warned us about when he said, \"In the last days, there will be a people who are always learning but never coming into the practical experience and power of what they are learning\" (see 2 Timothy 3:7). You see, we can study the Bible, we can learn the Greek and Hebrew meanings of all kinds of words, we can talk about church history, we can study past revivals—but if we never enter into this divine enablement where the Spirit of God takes us out of weakness and into strength, out of the natural and into the supernatural life of Christ, aren't we just a people to be pitied?<\/p>\n

John continued: \"He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come<\/em>\" (John 16:13). It is just like on the Day of Pentecost when the disciples were speaking the \"megalios\" of God. In the Greek, this means \"the anticipated outworking of the inward presence and power of God.\" They were talking about things to come! They were declaring who God is and what He was about to do.<\/p>\n

Do you realize that the ideas we have for our lives are so far short of what God has in mind for us? I encourage you to let God's plan take root in your life. As you read the Word, allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into it and tell you of things to come. Let Him unfold a path before you—one you could not even hope to walk in your own strength!<\/p>\nASK FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT<\/span>\n

The Upper Room was not the last infilling of this incredible power of God. In the book of Acts we read about Peter and John going up into the temple, and healing was flowing through their lives (see Acts 3:1–10). In response, the order of the day brought them in and threatened them with imprisonment. However, Peter and John gathered with brothers and sisters in Christ and prayed, \"Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus<\/em>\" (Acts 4:29–30). They were asking for more of what got them into trouble in the first place! \"And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness<\/em>\" (Acts 4:31).<\/p>\n

If the disciples needed the Holy Spirit then, how much more do we need Him today? This is a very, very dark day. We are not going to win this moment with an argument; we will win it with an experience with God. We will win it by going into the prayer closet and asking God once again for His power. We will win it with the presence of God being evident in each of our lives.<\/p>\n

Remember, the Bible warns us that in the last days, men's hearts will begin to fail them for fear (see Luke 21:26). And the writer of Hebrews says, \"Everything that can be shaken is about to be shaken. Only that which cannot be shaken might remain\" (see Hebrews 12:26-27). The only things that cannot be shaken are God Himself and His people who empowered by His Spirit.<\/p>\n

And so I challenge you to ask God daily for His Holy Spirit. This hour calls for more than just casual Christianity—it calls for an anointing of God's Spirit. We must have the Word in our hearts, songs on our lips, and power in our hands that only God can give. So be determined; be radical. Cry out to God in the morning. Cry out to Him in the evening. Pray when you are at work or at school. Start to pray for people around you. God will surely fulfill His promise to pour out His Spirit on all flesh, and He will have a people who will be a testimony of His power!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"THE PROMISE OF POWER,\" a sermon given on July 8, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"28":{"sm_title":"Leaving My Regrets and My Successes","sm_id":"313","sm_desc":"We are called to be a visible expression of who God is to our generation by letting God show His wisdom, power and grace through us. If we are going to honor Christ we must be fully yielded to His will to let Him guide us so that the \"desires of Christ\" in us might be fulfilled. As we simply behold the victory of Christ we will be enabled to let go of our regrets as well as our successes and we will be empowered to lay hold of God's divine plan for our life. ","sm_jpg":"48507_jb_20180513.jpg","sm_date":"2018-09","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/05\/13s1\/20180513s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/05\/13s1\/20180513s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"APeEltQgwpA","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48661_sermon-newsletter-201809-leaving-my-regrets-and-my-successes.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead<\/em>” (Philippians 3:7–11).<\/p>\n

It is evident from the writings of the Apostle Paul that he had a preeminent desire in his life: to know Jesus and be found in Him. In other words, he wanted to be fully yielded to the living Christ whom he was now aware had taken up residence inside his earthly body. He wrote in the book of Acts, “In Him we live and move and have our being<\/em>” (Acts 17:28). Paul was aware of something that we need to rediscover today: We are not called of God to simply bring the knowledge of God to our generation, we are called to be a visible expression of who God is by allowing Him to demonstrate His power, wisdom, grace and love through us.<\/p>\nLEAVING OUR REGRETS BEHIND<\/span>\n

Paul then goes on to make a statement which should encourage us whenever we feel mediocre compared to those we read about in the Bible: “Not that I have already attained or am already perfected<\/em>” (Philippians 3:12). He was essentially saying, \"I am not everything that I should be.\" Paul was not, and neither are we! He continued, “But I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus<\/em>” (Philippians 3:12–14). In other words, \"God has a plan for my life, and I am moving forward to fulfill that which Christ has determined to do through me. Therefore, I must forget those things that are behind and reach forward to those that are ahead.\"<\/p>\n

One of the hardest things for us to leave behind is our regret. We tend to carry it with us through life—those constant thoughts of, \"If only I had done this; if only I had not done that; if only I had been this; if only I had known; if only I had been there; if only I had not been so selfish.\"<\/p>\n

However, if anyone had a lot of reasons to live in regret, it was Paul. He says in the book of First Corinthians, “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God<\/em>” (1 Corinthians 15:9). In the book of Acts, he said this, “This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities<\/em>” (Acts 26:10–11).<\/p>\n

Imagine Paul visiting different churches, looking upon the faces of men, women, and children who would be just like the ones he had formerly hauled out of their homes. Would he be reminded of the mothers and fathers pleading for mercy, the children crying? At that time, Paul was merciless, torturing Christians until they reached the point of blaspheming the name of God. When the beloved disciple Stephen—a young man who was full of faith and was serving tables—enraged the religious crowd, Paul was the man who held the coats of those who stoned him. Surely Paul easily could have been plagued by the memories of what he had done. Yet he made the deliberate choice to forget those things that were behind.<\/p>\n

There was a time in my life when I would go to my knees and weep almost every day. I would weep for the things I had done, the things I had not done, the deficiencies in my life. I would think about what I wished I had known as a young Christian, the places I should have gone but did not. I wrote it all down, and I would go in to my office and cry every day until one day, the Lord spoke to me and said, \"Carter, if you succeed in what I have called you to do, you are not to touch the glory. You are to give it all to Me. But that is not the only thing you are to give to Me. I want you to give Me your sorrow, your failures, your struggles. You are not to touch the glory, and neither are you to carry the shame. Both of those things belong to Me. I took it all on the cross, and you are not to carry the sorrow of it in your heart any longer.\" It was true. Once I allowed Him to do so, God took the sorrow away. Yes, I still have the memory of what I have done, but I do not carry the sorrow of it anymore.<\/p>\n

The Lord once spoke to the Apostle Peter words that you and I must remember today: “What God has cleansed you must not call common<\/em>” (Acts 10:15). If God has cleansed you, you have no right any longer to hang your head. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Your sins, your mistakes, and your failures are all cast as far away from you as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:12). As a matter of fact, God says, \"Your sins and iniquities I will remember no more\" (see Hebrews 10:17). That means that one day when you get to the throne of God and want to give Him a list of all your failures in life, the Lord will look at you and say, \"Well, I will have to take your word for it because I do not seem to remember any of it! When My blood touched your life, it blotted out all your transgressions.\"<\/p>\n

And so it is time to lay down that sorrow. If you are going to find the fullness of what God has destined for your life, you have to walk away from your regrets. Many women who have had abortions carry a deep inner sorrow when they become believers in Christ. They wonder what that life would have been like; what it would have been like to have that child with them at church. Men also need to learn to walk away from what happened because of what they did or did not do. Remember, Jesus died to take all of it from us. He died to give us a new mind and a new heart; He died to take away our sorrow.<\/p>\n

Now I am not saying that we should just pretend none of it ever happened or that we should never talk about it. What I am saying is that it loses its power to destroy us. It loses its power to imprison us behind walls of regret. Instead, it gives us an understanding of what really happened on the cross.<\/p>\n

Jesus took our captivity captive and brought us into a place where we can testify about the goodness of God, leading others out of their personal struggles and into the light of Christ.<\/p>\nLEAVING OUR SUCCESSES<\/span>\n

The second thing that we must learn to leave behind is our success. Paul said, “Concerning the righteousness which was in the law, blameless<\/em>” (Philippians 3:6). There were very few, if any, people in his generation who could make that claim. He was a man driven by success; he sat at the feet of some of the best scholars of his time. He was a leader among the Pharisees; he had accolades, he had diplomas, he had degrees, he had position, he had power. Nevertheless, he concluded, \"I count all of it as rubbish. Thank God for the past, but the past is not going to become my identity. My identity is in Christ. I do not want to know anything but Him; I do not want any power but His\" (see Philippians 3:7–9).<\/p>\n

Many believers today find their whole identity in their success outside of Christ—in their diplomas, their occupation, what they used to be. When they meet with people, all they talk about is themselves and what they have accomplished. It is because their identity is not yet fully in Christ. Sometimes it takes as much grace to walk away from success as it does from sorrow.<\/p>\n

Of course, this does not mean we must now go and burn all our diplomas, it just means that they are not our identity anymore. Thank God for them, but our identity is Christ and Him alone. The strength, grace, direction, compassion, and power we have is all Christ in us, the hope of glory.<\/p>\nPRESS ON<\/span>\n

Once we learn to leave behind our regrets and successes, we can “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus<\/em>” (Philippians 3:14). The call of God is higher than anything offered in this world. Paul described it this way: \"That I may know Him, that I may know the power of His resurrection, that I may know the fellowship of His sufferings, that I may be made conformable even to death if necessary. That I might win Him and be won of Him for the purpose for which He laid hold of me!\" (see Philippians 3:10–11).<\/p>\n

In other words, \"I want to be able to yield up my will, my comforts, and even my life so that I can know the power of God. I want to experience the full measure of His resurrection life in my own life. If it leads me to suffering, let it lead me there, so long as I am conformed to the One who went to a cross for me. I do not want to be cut short on this journey, for I recognize that Jesus died for me and left me here to live for others. The very life of Christ lived inside of me—accompanied by His power, vision, and giftings—is to flow through my life for the sake of others!\"<\/p>\n

I hope that this walk Paul described is your desire today. Yes, it might be a difficult path, often accompanied with a measure of sorrow, but there is truly no better way to live. By the grace and power of God within us, let us leave behind our regrets and successes and reach forward to this incredible calling that is ours in Christ. Let us allow the Lord to lead us the full distance for the sake of others who still need to know Him!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"Leaving My Regrets and My Successes,\" a sermon given on July 30, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by\nvisiting our website at tsc.nyc<\/strong>. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright\nlaws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"29":{"sm_title":"Royal Horses","sm_id":"311","sm_desc":"There is something about a moment in history when the King begins to speak again. As the bride of Christ, we are being trained to exercise spiritual authority for a strategic moment in history. We are to move from trembling in the outer courts and boldly come to the throne of our King. Do we believe we can stand for our families and reach the people in our communities? As Believers' we are called to be warriors, yielded for the sake of others so we send out a message that says when God decides to move no one can stand against His power and plan.","sm_jpg":"48485_jb_20180429.jpg","sm_date":"2018-08","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/04\/29s1\/20180429s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/04\/29s1\/20180429s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"6TYxCj7wc8E","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48624_sermon-newsletter-201808-royal-horses.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"On that day, King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews...Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, 'If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king's provinces. For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?' Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, 'Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews. You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's signet ring; for whatever is written in the king's name and sealed with the king's signet ring no one can revoke'<\/em>\" (Esther 8:1, 3–8).<\/p>\n

To briefly summarize, Esther was a young girl appointed to be the bride of the king for a specific time in history. However, at the time she was called to intercede for her countrymen, she felt unloved and unwanted. It had been about thirty days since the king had even wanted to see her. Similarly, we as the Church find ourselves being called of God to pray for a perishing nation, yet we may feel inadequate and unworthy. The first thing Esther had to rediscover, as we do in our generation, is that no matter how she felt, she was still the bride of the king with access to his throne.<\/p>\n

Once Esther overcame her initial sense of unworthiness and realized that God had put her where she was at that time for a divine purpose, she found the scepter of favor stretched out toward her. The king's wrath rose against the enemy of the Jewish people, Haman—a man who plotted to create laws to take away their future. Yet, because Esther went to the throne of the king, Haman ended up hanged on his own gallows.<\/p>\nSEND OUT THE HORSES!<\/span>\n

What happens next is incredible. \"So the king's scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language. And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king's signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on royal horses bred from swift steeds. By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives—to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions<\/em>\" (Esther 8:9–11). Basically, the letters gave the Jewish people the power to defend themselves and their families against anybody who would try to assault or kill them.<\/p>\n

This was a moment in history when great victory was going to be won. God had already made a way for the people to receive the decree that they did not have to lie down in powerlessness and let their enemies plunder them, their homes, their families, and their futures any longer. A word had come from the king—delivered by people who had a close association with the king, who understood his heart and his power.<\/p>\n

Can you picture the riders? There were a hundred and twenty-seven distinctive borders of various provinces, from India to Ethiopia. I do not know how many horses were sent out—five hundred, a thousand? Yet I can just see the scribes with this newfound authority from the king, jumping on the backs of these royal horses which were specifically bred for this moment. With a kick of their heels, they are off and running to the four corners of the known world at that time, stopping from town to town, pulling out the scroll, and saying, \"Thus, it is written in the name of King Ahasuerus that you can stand up and fight back with the king's power. The king's authority is now behind you. You can fight for your homes, your families, your children, and your communities. You can fight for your future. The king is with you!\"<\/p>\n

I believe these royal horses are a picture of how we as the Church are to bring others into the power and victory that we have come to know. You see, there is a power that fills your heart when you begin to pray. You begin to see something in the Word of God that prayerless people cannot see. You start to understand something about the heart of the King. You leave the realm of the natural and move into the supernatural, operating in a new wisdom that God promises to those who seek Him.<\/p>\nTHE SEAL OF THE KING<\/span>\n

As we saw in our opening scripture, when King Ahasuerus declared that he had given Esther the house of Haman, he gave these incredible instructions to Esther and Mordecai: \"You yourselves write a law. You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in my name, and seal it with my signet ring. No one can revoke whatever is written in the king's name and sealed with this king's signet ring\" (see Esther 8:8). He was essentially saying to them, \"Write and send out a message just as you have come to believe it. You are finally starting to know my heart; you recognize that I have all authority in this kingdom. You understand that whatever is sealed in my name, no one can stand against!\"<\/p>\n

This means that Esther and Mordecai had to believe that because of their own victories, the king's seal was sufficient to empower defenseless people to stand up and overthrow their enemies. Similarly, there is a point when you and I win our personal victories—those secret battles that nobody else but God knows about —and then we learn to bring others into the same power and victory we have come to know. We cannot just take our victory and go home; we are called to be warriors—soldiers in the army of God who are yielded for the sake of others. I often pray, \"God, what You have done for me, I am asking You now to do for others. Give them the victory, too!\"<\/p>\n

You know the rest of the story—the Jewish people did stand up in the strength of a word from the king, and nobody could stand against them. \"The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king's command...The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor. And in every province and city, wherever the king's command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them<\/em>\" (Esther 8:14, 16–17). The people were so afraid of this supposed minority, so afraid of the decree that came, that many of them became Jews! It was like a revival! Many who had previously stood against Christ and His Church suddenly recognized there was a King whose word was behind these people. Not only that, the scripture says that many of the governors, rulers and mayors of towns got on board as well. You see, there is something about a moment in history when the King speaks again and royal horses begin to ride!<\/p>\nWHAT IS YOUR PETITION?<\/span>\n

It is interesting that this whole victory began with a trembling bride appealing to the king, but it ends with her husband, the king, now appealing to the bride! There is no longer a scepter; Esther is now in his court, ruling and reigning with him. She is no longer making a request of him, yet the king says to Esther, \"The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the citadel, and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? Now what is your petition? It shall be granted to you. Or what is your further request? It shall be done<\/em>\" (Esther 9:12).<\/p>\n

Remember, this whole book is about Christ and His Church. Yes, it is a historical account, but everything points to Christ—to Him and His Bride. History tells us that Esther became a co-regent with her husband. She was writing laws and making decrees; she had an authority that was unheard of up until that time in history. And what does the Bible say about the Bride of Christ? What is God looking for? What will we be doing for all eternity? Ruling and reigning with Him! It is time for us to have a taste of what that is going to be like. God is saying to His Church, \"What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request? It shall be done.\" And so the question is: What are you willing to believe God for? Didn't Jesus say that whatever you ask and believe for, you shall receive (see Mark 11:24)?<\/p>\n

This means it is imperative for us to win our personal victories now. We must come to understand the heart of God, as well as lead others into the victories we have experienced. It is time for us as the people of God to lift our voices once again. This is not a time to draw back in cowardice but rather to put our hand to that pen when the King says, \"Write it as you see it, and I will back it.\"<\/p>\n

It is time for us to be specific, saying, \"I want my son to come home, and I want that son to be an evangelist. I want my daughter to have an influence in our generation.\" The King is saying to you today, \"If it is in My Word, I will put My seal on it, and nobody can stand against it. No power of hell, no principality, no trial, no difficulty can stand against what I will do!\" Hallelujah!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"ROYAL HORSES,\" a sermon given on April 29, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at\ntsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This\nsermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"30":{"sm_title":"Inviting The Devil To Dinner","sm_id":"309","sm_desc":"You may be in a season where the enemy has come to try to confuse you about your identity in Christ, leaving you to feel undesirable and unloved. It's not about how you feel about yourself. It's about how the King feels about you, and He is waiting to hear your voice. It's the mercy of God that has tied the move of His hand with hearing your voice. Esther is a type of a praying people who have turned away from their frailty and failure and made the choice to seek God with fasting and prayer. When we begin to fast and pray we tap into the supernatural. It's time to invite the devil to dinner and watch what God will do. ","sm_jpg":"48476_jb_20180422.jpg","sm_date":"2018-07","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/04\/22s1\/20180422s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/04\/22s1\/20180422s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"ai_nkf_Vut4","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48581_sermon-newsletter-201807-inviting-the-devil-to-dinner.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Jesus once said, \"The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly<\/em>\" (John 10:10). There is a conflict going on, a war in the heavenlies, and people who live in godlessness unwittingly become pawns of it. Their hearts are opened to darkness, and they begin to move their hand against what they know is dearest to the heart of God. For example, in the book of Esther, we read of a man called Haman who worked his way up in government to virtually second in authority. He wanted everybody to bow before him—to bow to his view of what society should look like. However, a certain people group refused to bend to ungodliness. This group was represented by one man at the gate named Mordecai —a devout follower of God. Haman became inflamed against Mordecai and all the Jews he represented, and he persuaded the king to pass laws with the ultimate goal of eradicating the society of these people.<\/p>\n

In other words, he did what leaders, right back to the devil himself, have always tried to do —pass laws to threaten, harm, and marginalize the people of God in their day; to say, \"We as a society with our new order are better off without these people.\"<\/p>\n

So what is God's response to this?<\/p>\nTHE WORST POSSIBLE TIME<\/span>\n

The Apostle Paul said in the book of Corinthians that God takes the weak, and the foolish, and the things that are not to bring to nothing the things that stand in their own wisdom and strength (see 1 Corinthians 1:26–28). In this case, God had providentially placed a young Jewish girl named Esther in the king's palace. When God called her to go in and make intercession for her people, it happened to be at the worst possible time in her life. The passion of that first romance with the king had somewhat faded, and she had not even been called into his presence for thirty days. Perhaps she felt unlovely or feared that she had somehow failed to be faithful to the king, and now he was displeased with her.<\/p>\n

Don't you love God's timing? As we look at the church in America today, who among us can say that we are all we should be? Our churches are virtually prayerless. Our gospel is light and somewhat treacherous, or if not, it is heavy-fisted, condemning the righteous. Just like Esther, we might conclude, \"Oh, God, this is the worst possible time to experience this onslaught of evil that we are facing today! We are not strong. We feel like we have not been in the presence of the King. We are completely aware of our failings and our inability to do what You are calling us to do.\"<\/p>\n

Nevertheless, God has tied the moving of His hand in with our voices. You see, the incredible mercy and kindness of God is displayed in that He waits to hear us in our frailty. That means there is one thing that we must rediscover—the thing that Esther had to know despite how she felt about herself: that she was still the bride of the king! No matter how you feel about yourself, even if you have been away from God for years, it does not matter. He has engraved you on the palm of His hands.<\/p>\nRETURN TO PRAYER<\/span>\n

Esther is a type of a praying people—the ones to whom God looks in order to display His power once again. In her own frailty, Esther turned to a complete dependence upon God, calling together her friends to pray and fast for three days. She knew that this would not be accomplished through petition or activism. What needed to be done in the nation was only going to happen by the hand of God, and so she essentially concluded, \"Not only will we fast, but I am going to throw myself in with my prayer. I am going to go into the king, and whatever it costs me, that is what it costs me\"(see Esther 4:16). Similarly, it is not a casual prayer that the Lord is looking for in our generation but rather people who are willing to say, \"God, I accept whatever You have for my future. Whatever You ask me to do, I will do, and if I perish, I perish.\"<\/p>\n

The Scriptures tell us that on the third day of the fast, \"Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, across from the king's house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter<\/em>\" (Esther 5:1–2). Remember, it is not about how you feel about yourself but rather how the king feels about you that matters! You can walk into that court of prayer and feel like a failure, only to discover that the King has been waiting for you! He has been longing to hear your voice. He is not ashamed of you; He bought you with His own blood.<\/p>\n

When Esther touched the top of the king's scepter, she was recognizing his power, his mercy, as well as her position in that court. Likewise, you and I must again recognize the power of our Savior and know that in Him we are more than conquerors.<\/p>\nOUR FIRST MINISTRY<\/span>\n

\"And the king said to her, 'What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!'<\/em>\" (Esther 5:3).<\/p>\n

Esther gave an unusual answer. If it were me, I probably would have just gone for the throat of the matter and explained that Haman was trying to kill my people. But Esther spoke with wisdom. \"If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him<\/em>\"(Esther 5:4). I find it interesting that Esther is inviting two people but she is intimating the banquet is only for \"him.\" Assuming it is the king she is referring to, this is a picture of how our first ministry is to Him—the King. Our first ministry is not merely to be coming to Him with our list of needs. We must not forget to take time to just thank Him and love Him.<\/p>\n

Now a time of a second request comes—a second banquet. At the banquet, the king said to Esther, \"'What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!' Then Esther answered and said, 'My petition and request is this: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them'<\/em>\" (Esther 5:6–8).<\/p>\n

Remember, the first banquet was for him, and now the second banquet is for the two of them. This is just like the scripture that says, \"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love\"(Song of Solomon 2:4). Finally Esther fully knew that the king's heart was engaged with her voice. She understood that their relationship was not going back to where it used to be, but it was going deeper than it ever had been.<\/p>\n

In the beginning of her relationship with the king, it was a love relationship. I have no doubt that he was enamored with her and vice versa, just as is often the case in our first love relationship with Christ. Yet over time, a distance came. The king was looking for something more: somebody who would rule and reign with him. He wanted somebody with whom he could trust certain things of the kingdom, for we know at the end of the story, Esther was given the power to rewrite the law of death into a law of life. She literally became a co-regent, writing laws with her husband.<\/p>\n

\"On the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, 'What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done'<\/em>\" (Esther 7:2). You can see a deep longing in the king's heart. In the same way, can you understand how much Jesus is waiting and longing for us? He is waiting for us as His people to come back into His presence to love Him and recognize our calling on earth.<\/p>\nWHO WOULD DARE?<\/span>\n

\"Then Queen Esther answered and said, 'If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king's loss.' So King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, 'Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?'<\/em>\" (Esther 7:3–5).<\/p>\n

\"Who would dare?\" A fire comes into the king's eyes because his bride has come back! His bride is ministering to him at the banqueting table—the one David said God prepares for us even in the midst of our enemies (see Psalm 23:5). Can you imagine what will happen when we come back to the throne of God in America? \"Who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing? Who would dare to think that he can curse and eradicate the people I have proclaimed to be blessed in the earth and be a blessing everywhere they go? Who would dare to raise his hand against My Bride—the testimony of who I am in the earth?\"<\/p>\n

\"Esther said, 'The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!' So Haman was terrified before the king and queen. Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king. When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, 'Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?' <\/em><\/p>\n

\"As the word left the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face. Now Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, 'Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king's behalf, is standing at the house of Haman.' Then the king said, 'Hang him on it!' So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king's wrath subsided<\/em>\" (Esther 7:6–10). Whatever the enemy means for harm to the people of God, God will turn around!<\/p>\n

Just as Esther discovered, you have more power than you realize. You are not just a sideline player in a society that is plunging into darkness. You are the Bride of the King—the ultimate authority! Rulers are in His hand; laws are in His power and can be rewritten. We are living in a day when there are textbooks that need to be rewritten in our schools, laws that need to be rewritten in our towns. There are things happening in the spiritual realm that God will give you the power to rewrite. If we all start rewriting together, can you imagine what will happen in all facets of society? We can live to see a spiritual awakening in our day! And so it is time for you to pray for your home. It is time for us to lift up our nation before God. It is time to invite the devil to dinner!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"INVITING THE DEVIL TO DINNER,\" a sermon given on April 22, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"31":{"sm_title":"When Ice Forms On Your Wings","sm_id":"307","sm_desc":"The Bible admonishes us to \"trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.\" It's is so important that the Word of God becomes entwined with our character so we will be able to respond in a correct manner in our trials. Everyone will face seasons when coldness threatens our calling and the weight of the moment causes us to fear that we are in a spiritual stall. In these seasons it's imperative not to pull back but push forward and believe that we will renewed in God's power. Trust God and He will strengthen you to fulfill the calling He has placed on your life.","sm_jpg":"48414_jb_20180311.jpg","sm_date":"2018-06","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/03\/11s1\/20180311s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/03\/11s1\/20180311s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"3f6zHUm89VY","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48543_sermon-newsletter-201806-when-ice-forms-on-your-wings.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

According to an ABC News article, federal investigators deemed pilot error to be one of the chief causes of an airplane crash in February 2009 which killed all 49 on board and one person on the ground. The plane lost speed as it was approaching the airport near Buffalo, New York, due to ice on the wings.<\/p>\n

Most people think that a plane flies because wind gets underneath its wings and lifts it, but it is actually the motion of air flowing over the top of the surface of the wings that lifts the plane. So when ice gets on the wings, it interrupts the flow of air over the top and the aircraft loses lift—meaning it can plunge like a stone straight down out of the sky to the earth.<\/p>\n

When cockpit warnings indicate that a plane is about to stall, pilots are trained to push what is called the stick shaker forward so that the nose of the plane will drop, causing the plane to increase in speed and return to a position of lift. At that point, the pilot can raise the nose and literally take off again. Yet in this case, instead of pushing the stick shaker forward, the captain pulled it backwards—not just once, but several times.<\/p>\n

The airline involved issued a statement: \"By all accounts, the captain and first officer were fine people. They knew what to do in the situation they faced that night a year ago, and they had repeatedly demonstrated that they knew what to do, and yet they did not do it. We cannot speculate on why they did not use their training with the situation that they faced.\"<\/p>\n

In other words, this pilot, as part of training, had most likely been in a simulator where he would have learned how to respond in that particular situation. Yet when it occurred in real life, rather than trusting the training he had received, the captain leaned on his own instincts.<\/p>\n

How different are we in the house of God? Are we in a \"simulator\" of sorts whenever we read stories in the Bible of others and how they reacted in certain situations? We are being trained the right way to speak, think, and act so that when we end up in a crisis, we do not come crashing down—destroying not only ourselves but often taking along others who had been trusting our authority. That is why it is so important that the words of God not just be on the page but they become part of our character so that we will instinctively respond according to what we have learned.<\/p>\nLOSING LIFT<\/span>\n

It says in the book of Isaiah, \"He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall<\/em>\" (Isaiah 40:29). In other words, there comes a season in each of our lives when we feel we cannot go on. We feel as if we are going to crash and burn, spiritually speaking. Similarly, we all face seasons when coldness gets into our heart—sometimes simply because of the repetition and monotony of daily life. Marriages often get into trouble because there is no effort on the part of the husband or wife to rekindle the flame of love that was once the bedrock of the relationship. Coldness can also seep into our relationship with God—particularly when we become so accustomed to the pattern of our Christian walk that we begin to do things on autopilot. Soon the weight of repetition, personal trials, and struggles in our own mind start to crash in upon us, and before we know it, we feel like we are losing lift.<\/p>\n

It is imperative in these moments that we go back to our training and recognize that God has already told us what to do when this happens. Of course, our instinct might be to pull back, just like the pilot did, even though God says to push forward. We pull back from the Word of God, the house of God, the service of God. Yet all along God is saying, \"No, now is not the time to pull back. Now is the time to push forward and believe!\"<\/p>\n

You see, the Bible tells us to \"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him<\/em>\"(Proverbs 3:5–6). In other words, when you do not understand—when it looks like heeding God's instructions is the worst course of action in the natural—trust what He says rather than relying on your own instincts.<\/p>\n

The Apostle Paul said it this way: \"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen<\/em>\"(2 Corinthians 1:20). He said elsewhere, \"Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry<\/em>\"(1 Corinthians 10:9–14). When the Apostle Paul said to flee from idolatry, I believe he was referring to the idolatry of the human heart taking the place of God. In other words, \"Flee from becoming the god of your own life. Flee from following human instinct that always wants to rise up and take the place of the Word of God.\"<\/p>\nOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING<\/span>\n

So what are some other examples of how we can avoid leaning on our own understanding and instead acknowledge God in all our ways? Let's look at a few more Scriptures.<\/p>\n

Paul says in the book of Ephesians, \"Therefore, putting away lying, 'Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,' for we are members of one another. 'Be angry and do not sin:' do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer<\/em>\" (Ephesians 4:25–27). This is a particularly pertinent verse during tax time. Stealing from the government is still theft, even if you conclude, \"God knows I need the money more than the government does. They are only going to waste it anyway.\" That is leaning on your own understanding.<\/p>\n

The passage continues: \"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers<\/em>\" (Ephesians 4:29). We can acknowledge God in all our ways by keeping our speech clean—by ministering grace to the people who are listening to us. \"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you<\/em>\"(Ephesians 4:30–32). Whenever we decide that someone does not deserve to be forgiven—that we have a right to hold on to the bitterness in our heart—we are leaning on our own understanding.<\/p>\n

In the next chapter of Ephesians, Paul says, \"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her<\/em>\" (Ephesians 5:22–25). If your marriage is in trouble, do not pull away from the pages of God's Word—from the specific instructions He has given to you as a husband or a wife. Do not draw that throttle back. Push forward and get your heart and mind back into obedience to the Word of God.<\/p>\nHE SHALL DIRECT YOUR PATHS<\/span>\n

Remember, you do not find out whether or not you passed the test when you are in a simulator. It is when you are in the crises of life—when you have to trust God for your finances, when you have to believe for your family and for your children and for your marriage. That is when you must push that stick forward. You must get back in the Word of God and say, \"Lord, would You help me not to lean on my own understanding? Would You help me not to try to figure a way out of my dilemma in my own strength? Would You help me to trust in You with all of my heart?\" As you pray this way and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, suddenly you will find yourself gaining lift again.<\/p>\n

I love what King David said in Psalm 44: \"Our fathers have told us, the deeds You did in their days, in days of old: You drove out the nations with Your hand, but them You planted. You afflicted the peoples, and cast them out. For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them. You are my King, O God. Command victories for Jacob. Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, and praise Your name forever<\/em>\" (verses 1–8).<\/p>\n

David was saying, \"Lord, You have told us what You have done in the past. You brought Your people out of captivity and into the place of promise—not by human intellect, reasoning, or strength, but by Your Spirit. Knowing the history, I am not going to trust in my bow or my sword; in my own strength or reasoning. You will be my boast all the days of my life!\"<\/p>\n

When I get to the finish line, I, too, want to have this testimony: \"Only God could have done this.\"I want to look at the generation coming after me and, like the Apostle Paul, be able to say, \"Follow me as I have followed Christ. Yes, I was crushed; I was distressed and had the sentence of death in myself at one time. Nevertheless, I did not trust in human strength. I trusted in the One who raises men from the dead!\" (see 1 Corinthians 11:1, 2 Corinthians 4:8–10).<\/p>\n

In Proverbs, the Scripture continues with a promise: \"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths<\/em>\" (Proverbs 3:6). We know the pathways of God. He has told us in Jeremiah 29:11: \"I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope<\/em>\"—to bring you to that place of freedom that you long for; to bring you to that place of strength that you need; to bring you to a renewed vision of what your life is all about in the first place; to bring your marriage beyond what it has ever been. Those are the pathways of God! So let's trust the Lord and acknowledge Him in all our ways, and then watch where He will lead us!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"WHEN ICE FORMS ON YOUR WINGS,\" a sermon given on March 11, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"32":{"sm_title":"It's Time, Again, To Pray!","sm_id":"305","sm_desc":"In the Garden of Eden, Satan sowed his own theology in human nature that would bring humanity into its own destruction. God Himself prophesied to the devil that He will have an active force of opposition to oppose and defeat him. As the Church of Jesus Christ, we are empowered to come to God with petitions and prayer to pull down the thoughts of the devil and push back the forces of hell. When the Church begins to pray, when we rediscover again who we are and we begin to realize that we are not relegated to the sidelines of history while this march of hell goes through our streets, threatening to devour everything that is good and Godly, then the powers of hell will be destroyed. The power of the Church is found in the prayer meeting.","sm_jpg":"48387_jb_20180218.jpg","sm_date":"2018-05","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/02\/18s1\/20180218s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/02\/18s1\/20180218s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"ne_Do83IxzA","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48493_sermon-newsletter-201805-its-time-again-to-pray.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

When Satan came down into the Garden of Eden, he came with a livid hatred for God that manifested every time he tried to bring to ruin that which was closest to the heart of the Lord: mankind. The devil ended up sowing a thought into the human race that would bring man to his own destruction–the idea that we can become as God in ourselves.<\/p>\n

Yet after Satan tempted Adam and Eve, God said to him, \"Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel<\/em>\" (Genesis 3:14–15).<\/p>\n

This is the first time in the Bible that we see the redemptive plan of God. Obviously, God was not caught by surprise in the Garden of Eden. He knew that humankind would be created in His image, would subsequently fail, and then would have to be redeemed. And so God was essentially telling Satan, \"Lest you should exalt yourself, I have a plan. You are going to live to conquer and devour those created in My image all the days of your life. I will put an act of opposition between you and the woman–between your seed and her seed. And from the seed of a woman I am going to raise up the One who will actively oppose you and defeat you.\"<\/p>\n

We know today that the One from the seed of the woman was Christ. In the original Hebrew, it says, \"You shall strike his heel.\" In other words, \"He will be on a journey, but as a serpent, you will strike His heel and stop His journey. You will cause Him pain and even death but He in turn will bruise your head.\" As we know the story today, Jesus would be raised from the dead and would tread upon the devil's imagination that humankind is fully within his grasp–that he has the right to captivate those who have been created in the image of God, not just for time but for all eternity.<\/p>\n

Not only would He bruise the devil's head, we know through the testimony of Scripture that Christ would have a seed–a people born into the kingdom of God who would have access to the throne of God by prayer. They would have the power to push back the devil's thought that he could possess the earth, its direction, its future.<\/p>\n

We are that people! Do you realize the power God has put into our hands as believers in Christ? We are not merely bystanders, watching the devil destroy a whole generation. God has a plan, and part of that plan is our approaching His throne and petitioning Him to move on behalf of those who have nobody to call out for them.<\/p>\nA SPIRITUAL AWAKENING<\/span>\n

The Scriptures give us many examples of the incredible things that happen when God's people pray. For instance, in the book of Second Kings, the king of Syria surrounded the city where the people of God were. There was such a vast army that Elisha's servant looked over the wall of the city and asked, \"What are we going to do? They are more and mightier than us!\" (see 2 Kings 6:14–15).<\/p>\n

\"Elisha prayed, and said, 'Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see'<\/em>\"(2 Kings 6:17). In other words, \"Oh, God, would You give vision back to Your people to understand once again that it is not by might nor by power but by Your Spirit? Would You help us once again to see You in absolute victory–with all power, all dominion, all authority?\"<\/p>\n

\"Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, 'Strike this people, I pray, with blindness'<\/em>\" (2 Kings 6:17–18). In other words, \"Confuse the enemy! Take away their vision, their unity, their strength. Do not let them accomplish their purpose.\"<\/p>\n

We, too, can pray that in our generation. \"Lord, do not let the enemies of righteousness advance any farther. Let their agenda drift away from them!\"<\/p>\n

\"And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha<\/em>\"(2 Kings 6:18). It did not mean they could not naturally see; it just meant they were not seeing what they had seen before. \"Now Elisha said to them, 'This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.' But he led them to Samaria. So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, 'Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.' And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria<\/em>\"(2 Kings 6:19–20).<\/p>\n

Not only were God's people affected by prayer, the enemy was brought to an awareness of God's power– a moment of conscience. This is what we need to pray for in our generation–a spiritual awakening. A spiritual awakening is a sudden awareness of sin that can come into the heart of any society, any place, any person. \"Why am I suddenly thinking about God? Why is it suddenly occurring to me that what I am doing is wrong?\"<\/p>\n

We are not praying for harm to come to any person. Rather, we are saying, \"God, blind the godless to their objective and open their eyes to the fact that they have been taken captive by powers of darkness. Cause them to understand who they truly are and what they are doing.\"<\/p>\n

When is the last time you prayed that way–instead of praying for the destruction of the enemies of God, you asked the Lord to have mercy on them and open their eyes? That is exactly what Elisha did. He fed them and sent them home, and the Bible tells us that they came no more into that part of Israel (see 2 Kings 6:23). They did not come back because they had a moment of conscience!<\/p>\nPOWERLESS RELIGION<\/span>\n

When we pray, we also have power to free those who have been captivated by deceptive and powerless religion. One of the things that the devil will do to captivate a generation is offer an alternative to Christ: religion. The Bible tells us that after Satan had sown his nature into humankind in the Garden of Eden, God came down and found Adam and Eve covered in fig leaves (see Genesis 3:7). This is what happens when darkness comes upon a society–people attempt in their own strength to cover their sin and shame.<\/p>\n

Of course, we know that only God can forgive sin. Only God can produce fruit from a life that is yielded to Him. Jesus once walked up to Jerusalem and saw a fig tree, but when He came up to it, He found nothing but leaves. And so He cursed the fig tree, saying, \"Let no one eat fruit from you ever again<\/em>\" (Mark 11:14).<\/p>\n

As Jesus and His disciples entered Jerusalem the next day, Peter said, \"'Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.'So Jesus answered and said to them, 'Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, \"Be removed and be cast into the sea,\" and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says'<\/em>\"(Mark 11:21–23). Now the only mountain in the whole vicinity was Jerusalem. Jerusalem had crafted this \"fig tree religion\"–self-made, man-made coverings of human effort; a false relationship with God that offered no life, bore no fruit, and had no power. While we tend to take these verses today and use them for all kinds of things, Jesus was actually talking about casting away this false covering that the devil offers humanity–assuring them that they are back in right relationship with God when they are not.<\/p>\n

However, through prayer, you and I have the power to set free those who have settled for powerless religion. We can ask God to remove the deceptive covering and fill every church with life and truth.<\/p>\nFREEDOM FROM CAPTIVITY<\/span>\n

Another thing that happens when we pray is that God's people are brought out of captivity. Many people desire to serve Him with all their heart, but they have been taken captive by some of the forces of this world.<\/p>\n

In Acts chapter 12, the apostle Peter was put in prison and delivered over to four squads of soldiers to guard him. King Herod intended to bring him out before the people after the Passover, which means that the authorities of that time were essentially boasting, \"We have the power to corral the church. We will bring the Christians out before the people, and the people will judge those who claim that our religion is faulty and our society is off track.\"<\/p>\n

However, the Bible tells us that \"Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church<\/em>\" (Acts 12:5). As the believers were in constant prayer, miracles began to happen! \"Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, 'Arise quickly!' And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, 'Gird yourself and tie on your sandals'; and so he did. And he said to him, 'Put on your garment and follow me.' So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him<\/em>\" (Acts 12:7–10).<\/p>\n

Captivity was taken captive! When Peter and the angel came to the city, the gate opened on its own accord–a picture of how nothing in our society can stop the hand of God!<\/p>\n

When Peter knocked on the door where many were praying, the people were astonished. \"But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, 'Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren'<\/em>\" (Acts 12:17). Peter instructed them to tell the other brethren the news–that captivity had been taken captive by the power of God through a praying church. Had they not gathered to pray, I believe history would have been very different. Likewise, if you and I choose not to pray in our generation, the future will be different.<\/p>\nA WINDOW OF MERCY<\/span>\n

We have a very short window of mercy before us. God is calling the whole Church across the country to pray now. If we do not take advantage of this moment, a fearful darkness awaits us on the other side of this open window.<\/p>\n

Remember, although the enemy may try to bruise our heel, we are of that seed of Christ, and we can step on the devil's head. We can cast down his imaginations, whereby he thinks he can control, deceive and destroy a whole generation. I fully believe that God intends to send an awakening to this nation. And so we must remember that the true source of our power is in prayer. It always has been, and it always will be. It's time, again, to pray.<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"IT'S TIME, AGAIN, TO PRAY,\" a sermon given on February 18, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"33":{"sm_title":"The Lord Your God Is With You","sm_id":"303","sm_desc":"If we are going to amount to anything we must learn how to pray and be set apart for God. When you choose to live for God, the evidence of His Spirit will be upon you and will work through your life. The plan of God is sure, the promise of God is true. In order to oppose the plan that God has for your life your enemies have to be able to oppose God Himself. Remember, the Lord did with you and He will never leave you or forsake you. ","sm_jpg":"48370_jb_20180204.jpg","sm_date":"2018-04","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/02\/04s1\/20180204s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2018\/02\/04s1\/20180204s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"8oMERnev2hg","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48461_sermon-newsletter-201804-the-lord-your-god-is-with-you.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

I would like to share a story, and although it is very personal to me, it also applies to you. You see, certain patterns of God's dealing with humanity do not change nor are they exclusive to just one or two people. Rather, they are for the whole Body of Christ–through whom the divine purpose of God is accomplished in the earth.<\/p>\n

It was early 1994 and I was a pastor in Canada. I had just entered my office when suddenly I felt an incredible presence of God's Holy Spirit come upon me. In that moment, it was as if everything was heightened. I started noticing things around me that I had not noticed before. I knew it was the Holy Spirit, and I knew God wanted to speak to me. I told my assistant, \"Please, no phone calls, no interruptions. I am going to lock myself in my office. I feel the presence of the Lord has come on me for a reason, but I don't know why.\"<\/p>\n

Sitting down at my desk, I felt the Lord say, \"Go to where you are presently in the Old Testament and begin to read.\" At that time, I was in 1 Chronicles, chapter 28. I began to read, and at about verse 10, it was as if the words of God began to just jump off the page.<\/p>\n

\"'Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.' Then David gave his son Solomon... the plans for all that he had by the Spirit...'All this,' said David, 'the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.' And David said to his son Solomon, 'Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God–my God–will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord'<\/em>\" (1 Chronicles 28:10-12, 19-20).<\/p>\n

Afterwards, the Lord told me, \"Now go to the book of Joshua and read chapter one, verses one to nine.\" \"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying: 'Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses...No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you... Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go'<\/em>\" (Joshua 1:1-3, 5, 9).<\/p>\n

The Lord then spoke to my heart again, \"I am sending you somewhere to help further a work that another man has begun–to help him bring it to completion.\" I did not know exactly where I was going, but I was confident God had spoken to me. I was so convinced it was God's Holy Spirit speaking that I told my associate pastor, \"Start preparing your heart to take over this church. I will be leaving soon.\"<\/p>\n

On May 19, 1994, Pastor David Wilkerson called me at home in Canada, and asked if I would be willing to come to New York City the following Tuesday to speak in a service. Shortly after I arrived in New York, I remember sitting in an apartment that belonged to World Challenge at the time. I looked out the window, and again the Lord said, \"Do not be afraid that what I am setting before you is something that cannot be accomplished. And do not look within yourself and conclude that there is not enough resource to do what I am asking of you. I have sent you, and that is all you need to know.\"<\/p>\n

After He spoke to my heart, there was a knock at the door. It was Pastor David, and he and I went for a walk together. \"The Lord has used me to start this work,\" he said, \"but it has grown very, very quickly and I need help. That is all I can tell you. Would you be willing to pray about coming to help me?\" I suddenly remembered the words God had spoken to me just months before in my office–that He was going to send me somewhere to help a man bring to completion a work that he had started.<\/p>\n

I looked at Pastor David and asked, \"Don't you think you should hear me preach first?\"<\/p>\n

\"Oh, yeah. Of course.\" But he already knew. The Holy Spirit had spoken to his heart, and he knew that God had spoken to mine.<\/p>\n

Over the course of the next seven years, just as the Lord said, Pastor David poured into my life the pattern for God's church as had been revealed to him–helping me understand all that the Lord had been doing and was willing to do in His house. I remember on one of the last occasions I saw him we were just sitting and talking about the future. He said words to the effect of, \"I have brought the people this far. Now you will take them into the place of promise.\" It was exactly what the Lord had spoken to me in Joshua chapter one.<\/p>\nGOD'S CHOICE<\/span>\n

The words of God applied directly to my life, and now I want to share how they apply to yours. In Joshua chapter one, we read: \"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant<\/em>\" (Joshua 1:1). Interestingly, the meaning of the name of this man, Nun, is fish–making Joshua \"the son of fish.\" This signifies to me that God's selection of whom He uses to impact another generation is not based on education or lineage. Just as the Bible says, God does not choose the wise or the noble or the naturally strong (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-27). Rather, it is the hungry heart that gets the victory. It is the person who says, \"Yes, Lord, I want You. I do not want to be sold short of Your calling on my life.\"<\/p>\n

Now remember that at the time Joshua was born, the people of God were slaves in Egypt. Although Joshua was the son of a slave, something in his heart said, \"God, I feel called to be more than I am at present. I believe You can do something significant in my life.\" Joshua understood that it was only through consecration and prayer that these things could happen. The Bible tells us that he would go with Moses into the place of prayer, yet when Moses returned to the camp, Joshua stayed and prayed (see Exodus 24:13, 33:11). This serves as a reminder for us that if we live a casual Christianity, we are going to be of casual effect in our generation. To be used of God requires dedication, separation, sanctification.<\/p>\n

When I first came to New York, Pastor David instructed me, \"I want you to shut away two days every week and pray.\" It was hard; it took discipline and dedication, and Pastor David knew that. If you are going to amount to anything, you must learn how to pray–to press in and seek God.<\/p>\nCROSSING THE JORDAN<\/span>\n

\"After the death of Moses...it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun<\/em>\" (Joshua 1:1). You and I are here today because other generations passed the torch to us. Some had to go to jail, some were burned at the stake, and still others paid with blood. Yet they got the torch to us, and it is in our hands. You and I are now the ones to whom God is speaking.<\/p>\n

\"Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel<\/em>\" (Joshua 1:2). The Jordan River represents the boundary between the old way of living and the new life promised in Christ. It is where we die to ourselves and rise in newness of life–choosing to live according to the will of God and believing that He will supply the power to fulfill it. The children of Israel had to pass through the Jordan before they could see Jericho come down and the land conquered. While the Promised Land was a physical place for the children of Israel, for us today, the Promised Land is Christ. It is a spiritual place of redemption and regeneration–a place where the kingdom of God begins to advance through our lives!<\/p>\nA PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE<\/span>\n

\"Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses...No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you<\/em>\" (Joshua 1:3, 5). Rest assured, the plan of God for your life is certain. People may criticize and threaten you, but no one can stop the plan of God if you have a pure heart and want to see Christ honored in your generation. The beauty of it all is that in order to stop God's plan for your life, those who oppose you must be able to stop God Himself, for it is not you but Christ in you! The only thing that can hinder the Lord's work is unbelief or the refusal to make the choice to live for God.<\/p>\n

\"Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them<\/em>\" (Joshua 1:6). When you are set apart for God, it will affect those around you as well. You will have an inheritance to give. You might be the only one in your family who is a believer in Christ today, but continue to live for Him with all your heart, and watch what God will do in your home! You will bring people into victory who were not even searching for God. \"Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success<\/em>\" (Joshua 1:7-8). We are to know the Bible. We are to prayerfully read it and ask God to speak to us through it. You may not have a lot of time in the morning, but you can still pray, \"Lord, establish my thinking for the day. What is a good verse for me today?\" Perhaps you can read that verse five times and meditate on it all day. It is life; it is light and direction. It is God speaking to you.<\/p>\n

Lastly, the Lord tells Joshua, \"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go<\/em>\" (Joshua 1:9). If you are going to live for Christ, you will be opposed from without and within. Fear comes when we see the magnitude of the opposition we are facing; dismay comes when we look inside ourselves and do not see adequate strength to be able to stand. However, the error of it all is forgetting that the battle is not ours–it is the Lord's. In fact, I believe the basis of having faith to finish the journey is the simple truth at the end of verse nine: \"For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.<\/em>\" Never forget that it is God who has commissioned you, and He is going to be with you until the end–until the fullness of His plan in and through your life is accomplished! Hallelujah!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU,\" a sermon given on February 4, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"34":{"sm_title":"A Rejoicing That Is Deeper Than Knowledge","sm_id":"301","sm_desc":"Are you experiencing a season of despair where you find yourself confused about the direction your life is taking? The devil's plan us to convince you that God doesn't hear your cry. On the contrary, it is in our valley experience that we learn more about the depth of God and we realize that what we are experiencing is so much bigger than we can understand. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him and it is at your lowest point in your life that He will whisper a profound secret in your heart.","sm_jpg":"48277_jb_20171126.jpg","sm_date":"2018-03","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/11\/26s1\/20171126s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/11\/26s1\/20171126s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"EztMWZul_OM","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48409_sermon-newsletter-201803-a-rejoicing-that-is-deeper-than-knowledge.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Although nobody knows for sure when David the king wrote Psalm 22, we do know it was during a very difficult time in his life. Some speculate that it was during the time King Saul was trying to take his life. Now remember, David was the young shepherd whom the Spirit of God came upon when the prophet Samuel anointed him with a flask of oil. He was the one who had once fought a lion, a bear and a giant, and he had led the armies of Saul into incredible victories. During those days, it probably seemed as if things could not get any better.<\/p>\n

Suddenly, however, everything seemed to turn. The king who once honored him because of his great victory against Goliath was now mustering all the armies of Israel to pursue and kill him. And so David writes in the midst of all this, \"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:1–2). In other words, \"This is not the way I thought things were going to go. I am still praying and doing my part, but where are You? Don't you see the pain and anguish I am in? Why are You not answering me?\"<\/p>\n

Just as David, we all go through seasons of despair. Sometimes we know the reasons for it but other times we cannot point to anything tangible that is causing our foreboding sense of hopelessness. Worst of all is the feeling that God is not listening, perhaps because He is angry with us. Although there is no scriptural evidence for it, often we have the tendency to succumb to that argument. \"I know in the Bible that God promises never to leave me nor forsake me. But if that is true, why does He seem so far away? Why is He not answering my prayers speedily?\"<\/p>\nYOU HAVE ANSWERED ME<\/span>\n

David goes on to say, \"Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Basham have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:12–13). He was essentially saying, \"I can feel hell laughing at me, 'You made your boast of God so why is He not answering your prayers when you need Him the most?'\" Do not forget that the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour— seeking how he can get us to believe his accusations against the faithfulness of God (see 1 Peter 5:8).<\/p>\n

David continued, \"I am poured out like water, all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death<\/em>\"(Psalm 22:14–15). He was saying, \"It cannot get any worse. I feel like a man who is already dead. There is no hope for me in this situation.\"<\/p>\n

\"For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me...They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots<\/em>\"(Psalm 22:16, 18). In other words, \"God, I was given an inheritance of You, yet all of a sudden, I can hear rumors of everybody dividing up everything that was once mine. Even my comforts are being taken away.\"<\/p>\n

\"But you, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. Save Me from the lion's mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen!<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:19–21). When I read these words, I cannot help but wonder if it is even possible to go down any lower than this man was. However, it was in the worst of the worst valleys of the shadow of death—in a time of incredible trial and difficulty and hardship—that a sudden revelation came into David's heart. Right out of nowhere, he continued in that same verse, \"You have answered me!\" It is amazing! As he is writing, he builds no bridge to it; the verses do not go from sorrow to gradual victory. It was just a sudden revelation that hit his heart!<\/p>\nAT OUR LOWEST POINT<\/span>\n

It gets even better after this. \"I will declare Your name to My brethren<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:22). In other words, \"I am going to tell everybody that You have been faithful to me. Although I am still surrounded by enemies, somehow I know that You have answered me. I know that in all of this there is a purpose that is deeper than I can fully understand.\"\"In the midst of the assembly I will praise You<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:22). He was saying, \"In fact, I am not just going to talk to individual people about what You have done, I am going to church, and my voice is going to be the loudest one there!\"<\/p>\n

\"You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:23). \"Not only will I testify to my brethren and sing in church, I will start encouraging all the people around me!\"<\/p>\n

And then David saw something even bigger: \"My praise shall be of You in the great assembly<\/em>\"(Psalm 22:25). He saw in his spirit a great assembly of people worshiping God. He could not fully understand it; it was only a whisper of God into a despairing man's heart. \"All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord's and He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship; all those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:27–29). He saw something in the Spirit—something coming that would be so big that it would touch the entire world!<\/p>\n

Remember that up until this point, salvation was only for the Jew. Yet, suddenly, in the midst of his hardship and despair, the whisper of God came to David's heart, telling him that what he was experiencing was so much bigger than he could understand. Of course, we know today that in this psalm, David was writing the very words that described the scene of the greatest victory ever known to humanity—the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ! When Jesus was on the cross, He quoted the first verse of Psalm 22: \"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?\"He was actually quoting the entire psalm by just opening with that first verse. And so when David penned that psalm, it was as if he was being ushered a thousand years into the future to the cross! Not only that, the physical man Christ was going to come through his lineage.<\/p>\n

The psalm ends, \"A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation. They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:30–31). In other words, not only will his generation be talking about this, but multiple generations will be sharing it for years to come. The interesting thing is that David did not know exactly what this was. He did not know that somebody called Jesus Christ would be Lord. He just knew it would be really big and that it would go worldwide. And this all came to him in the whisper of God at arguably the lowest point in his life!<\/p>\nTHE SECRET OF THE LORD<\/span>\n

And so you can be encouraged today! Just because you are down does not mean that God will not speak something to you—something more profound than anything you have ever heard in your entire life. Do not buy into the lie that God is not speaking to you. In those low moments, the devil's plan is to convince you that God does not love you, that He is fed up with you, that your praying is pointless. But it is often in those very moments that the secret of the Lord is revealed to those who fear Him, just as it was in David's life (see Psalm 25:14).<\/p>\n

No matter how dark your days might be, the Holy Spirit will whisper something into your heart. You may not fully understand what He is telling you now, but He will bring you to a place of rejoicing that is deeper than knowledge. You may not know exactly where you are going, but you will have the assurance that it is going to be a great journey. The Lord may not necessarily bring you out of your difficult situation right away, but if you will allow Him to speak to you in your despair, He can put gladness in your heart that can be born only of the Holy Spirit.<\/p>\n

We must allow the Lord do this in our hearts as a church in a generation where, like David, we seem to be surrounded by bulls and dogs—growling, snarling voices. Hatred, lies, deception, and disgust seem to be everywhere around us. We all need that secret of the Lord—His inner joy. And so we must go to Him and ask, \"Lord, would You whisper Your secret into my heart today? Would You give me just a glimpse of what You have for me?\"<\/p>\n

I remember when, as a young police officer, I had just started conducting a Bible study out in the country. The Lord began speaking to my heart about something He was going to do, although I did not know what it was. But a secret inner joy began to fill my heart with the assurance that God was going to accomplish something incredible through my life.<\/p>\n

Around that time, I went to a little church service attended by only a few people. They were singing \"Blessed Assurance\" and the Spirit of God amplified their voices so that it sounded as if two thousand people were singing! It was truly amazing—I heard a crowd in that moment and I knew in my heart, \"Lord, this is You. You are whispering something to me about the future.\"<\/p>\n

More recently, I remember sitting in the sanctuary at Times Square Church joining in as we all sang, \"Blessed Assurance.\" I suddenly realized, \"Lord, You whispered something into my heart back in that little church and ushered me fifteen or so years into the future to this very moment!\" It is truly amazing when we allow God to whisper to us.<\/p>\n

I encourage you today to rejoice. Do not sit in despair when the Lord wants to speak to you. Sometimes when the Lord speaks, your mind will not be able to comprehend what you are hearing. But in your heart, like David, you will say, \"I do not know exactly what this is all about, but I know it is a lot bigger than where I am today! And so I am going to rejoice in God's faithfulness, and I am going to encourage others to do so as well!\"<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"A REJOICING THAT IS DEEPER THAN KNOWLEDGE,\" a sermon given on November 26, 2017 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"35":{"sm_title":"Where Is The Lord Calling You?","sm_id":"299","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2018-02","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/11\/28t1\/20171128t1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48368_sermon-newsletter-201802-where-is-the-lord-calling-you.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Where is the Lord calling you? God has something specific for you to do so He is definitely calling you somewhere. It may not be for the rest of your life–it might be for just a short season.<\/p>\n

As we look in the book of Acts, we see the Apostle Paul with some ideas in his heart as to where he should go. \"Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them<\/em>\" (Acts 16:6–7).<\/p>\n

It is important to note that good ideas are not always \"God ideas.\"Paul was a sincere disciple of Christ who truly wanted to do the work of God–but just as it happened to him, it happens to all of us. There are certain places we want to go and certain things we want to do, and we automatically expect God to go with us. However, sometimes the pathways we choose for our lives during a particular season may not actually be the pathway of God for us.<\/p>\n

The passage continues, \"So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us'<\/em>\" (Acts 16:8–9). Macedonia was in the western part of society at that time and the people had not yet heard the Gospel. Nevertheless, suddenly a messenger of some sort was pleading with Paul to come help them.<\/p>\n

\"Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them<\/em>\" (Acts 16:10). So, as Paul and his company headed off to Macedonia, they stopped outside the city by the riverside. They encountered a group of women meeting for prayer and one lady in particular, Lydia, engaged them in conversation. She was a successful merchant and a worshiper of God, yet she did not understand the way of salvation through Christ. However, the Scripture tells us, \"The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul... She and her household were baptized<\/em>\" (Acts 16:14–15). Lydia subsequently invited Paul and his company to come stay with her, and her house became the first house church in Macedonia!<\/p>\nTHE ROAD IS NOT ALWAYS EASY<\/span>\n

The church had been established. People were hearing the Word of God and being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God was clearly on the move! The passage continues, \"Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out saying, 'These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation'<\/em>\"(Acts 16:16–17). When the devil knows he is going down, he will try to imitate a Christian. He will pretend and try to get close to you by saying, \"Hey, I am with you in this. You are doing a good work here,\"Nevertheless, you will sense that something is amiss.<\/p>\n

The slave girl followed them for many days. \"But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.' And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, 'These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.' Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely<\/em>\" (Acts 16:18–23).<\/p>\n

This account serves as a reminder that when we obey the will of God we will not necessarily have an easy time. There is no guarantee that we will get a pass through trials and tribulation and trouble. In fact, sometimes obeying the will of God will actually get us into trouble.<\/p>\n

\"Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks<\/em>\"(Acts 16:24). At midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. \"Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed<\/em>\" (Acts 16:26). The Bible tells us that the jailer ended up completely transformed. He took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Then he and his family were all baptized that night, and he even brought the men into his house and set food before them.<\/p>\n

Remember, all of this started with a man appearing to Paul when he was praying at night, saying, \"Come and help us.\"Imagine what would have happened if Paul had not heeded that voice! What if Paul had gone to Asia, instead, as he had wanted to? What if he had pushed against the Spirit of God, concluding, \"Well, Bithynia is a good idea. I am just going to go there\"? There would have been no house church in Lydia's home. There would have been no deliverance for the girl who was a captive of darkness being used for somebody else's gain. And at midnight, no songs would have been sung, and nobody's chains would have fallen off. This incredible victory would not have been won!<\/p>\nTHROUGH ONE PERSON'S OBEDIENCE<\/span>\n

I thank God that history is full of examples of men and women who heard the voice of God and moved in the direction He was leading– even if it meant going to a place of incredible hardship. Many years ago, I was preaching up in the Canadian Arctic to the Inuit people, where I met a lady named Kay Gordon. Kay was twenty-one years old, living in Vancouver, Canada, when she heard about a whole people group up in the Arctic who had never heard the Gospel. Nobody had ever gone there because it was so cold, and very few could survive.<\/p>\n

Kay felt the Lord urging her to go to the Arctic with no preparation, no language training–nothing. She just packed up everything and went. That first winter, she lived in extreme hardship. It was incredibly difficult for her physically because she was not accustomed to the cold and did not quite know how to properly heat the small abode where she was living. She almost froze to death that first winter.<\/p>\n

Now the Inuit people had never seen a foreigner amongst them. Kay preached about this strange God called Jesus Christ, and they were not interested because they had their own styles of worship. Yet when they saw her go through such hardship for them, their hearts began to open to the Gospel. They asked, \"Why have you endured this for us?\"Suddenly they began to listen, and conversions to Christ started to take place.<\/p>\n

Kay ended up staying for more than fifty years, and the Inuit people loved and highly respected her. By the time I was invited to speak at a Bible school that had been established there, pastors and leaders were being flown in from all over the Arctic by this lady who was now in her seventies. The Gospel had spread like wildfire through the region–all because of the obedience of one 21-year-old girl!<\/p>\n

I wonder how many people the Lord tried to speak to before Kay answered. Those who refused to go were perhaps more skilled, more equipped with survival training, or had a deeper knowledge of the Bible–yet they simply were not willing to obey the voice of God and make the sacrifice to go to a place of hardship.<\/p>\nWHAT WOULD YOU HAVE ME DO?<\/span>\n

Imagine what would happen if you and I, along with every believer in Christ, simply said this one little prayer: \"Lord, what would You have me do? Where do You want me to go?\"<\/p>\n

Now, in Paul's case, going to Macedonia was only for one short chapter in his lifetime of following Christ. We do not know exactly how long he was there, but during that season of being in a place that had never heard the Gospel, as well as going through the hardship that he had to endure, great good was done. After Paul and Silas were released from prison, \"they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed<\/em>\"(Acts 16:40).<\/p>\n

It is just as the Bible says of those who are walking with God: \"As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring<\/em>\" (Psalm 84:6). They pass through the valley of weeping, and they make it a place of blessing. What happens is truly amazing when you and I simply have the courage to obey the voice of God.<\/p>\n

And so the question remains: Who is calling out for you? Who is asking you to come? Is it the person down the street from you who is filled with despair but whose lifestyle is out of your comfort zone? Sure, you may find it difficult to approach them, but as you sincerely pray, you will begin to feel the cry in that person's heart.<\/p>\n

The Bible does not tell us who exactly in Macedonia was the one crying out to Paul. Was it Lydia, who was a successful businesswoman but still did not understand the way to salvation? Was it the captive slave girl? Perhaps it was somebody in the prison who had been crying out to God, saying, \"It is so hopeless here. I don't know what I am going to do with my life and my future. Am I destined to live in this godforsaken place for the rest of my days, or is there a way out?\" Was it the jailer, who was sick and tired of the anger, the darkness, the way he had to treat the prisoners? Was he fearing for his family? Was he lacking the emotional resources to simply be kind to his wife and children by the time he went home every day?<\/p>\n

We do not know who it was, but somebody was desperately crying out for help. Thankfully, God found one man who would be open when the Spirit of God was resisting his own direction and would go to where God was sending him. That is where the power of God is always found. God does not go with us and validate our plans. The way it works is, \"Not my will, but Thine be done.\"<\/p>\n

I implore you to have the courage today to say, \"Lord, what would You have me do? Where do You want me to go? I do not want to simply live for my will. Let Your will be done in my life!\" You will be amazed at the hearts that will be set free, the people who will come to the house of God, the great good that will be done! It is time that each of us become an evangelist–led by the Spirit of God, trusting His power, laying hands on the sick, casting out devils, believing that the Kingdom of God has come–and then watching God do the miraculous!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"WHERE IS THE LORD CALLING YOU?,\" a sermon given on November 28, 2017 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"36":{"sm_title":"How Many Christians Weep On Sunday Night?","sm_id":"297","sm_desc":"The Word of God will bring God Himself to glory in the people and God will do for us what only God can do. We must never be under the ministry of people that get there by natural means. The Word should challenge our unbelief and cause us to believe in the supernatural. We must believe that God is for us and is willing to do in us and through us and for us what only God can do. When you go home today don't weep, instead determine in your heart to believe God for the impossible.","sm_jpg":"48225_jb_20171015.jpg","sm_date":"2018-01","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/10\/15s1\/20171015s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/10\/15s1\/20171015s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"JTdz997G3Js","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48329_sermon-newsletter-201801-how-many-christians-weep-on-sunday-night.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

In the book of Numbers, the Lord instructed Moses, \"'Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel.'...Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel<\/em>\" (Numbers 13:2–3).<\/p>\n

The passage goes on to say, \"Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: 'We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there...We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.' And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land<\/em>\" (Numbers 13:26–28, 31–32). The original King James Version calls it \"an evil report of the land.\"<\/p>\n

The spies continued their report: \"There we saw the giants<\/em> (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight. So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night<\/em>\" (Numbers 13:33–14:1).<\/p>\n

I cannot help but wonder how many Christians today weep on Sunday night. After being in church on Sunday morning, how many go home hopeless—without faith for the future or a belief that God is able to save their families? They are left with no ability to believe that God is able to take them out of their despair and give them joy, a new voice, a new purpose, and a new vision. And so they go home and cry on their beds on Sunday night because they know that Monday morning is coming, and all things will remain just as they always have been.<\/p>\n

Note that these spies were leaders who had risen to reputation among their peers; they were not selected randomly. A multitude of people were traveling through the wilderness, and these men were among those who had risen to the top. They were perhaps recognized for their ability to lead people, for skills and giftings they had, for their natural strength.<\/p>\nFAITHLESS LEADERS <\/span>\n

Surely these spies, whom I will call the faithless ten (for two of the twelve spies, Joshua and Caleb, were convinced that they could take the land) did not consider their report evil. The word \"evil\" in the original text means it was slander and defamation against the character of God Himself. However, I am sure they considered their report analytical, measured, and reasonable. Yet here was the problem with these ten: They could claim to have knowledge of what was in this place of promise; they could claim to have seen it for forty days; they could lay out all the fruit—but they could not cause the people to believe that in spite of their littleness, God was still willing and able to give them all that He promised.<\/p>\n

Remember, leaders cannot lead people any farther than they have gone themselves. They simply cannot reproduce what is not there. Think about the history of these faithless ten. The supernatural power of God was all around them; they saw the plagues come down upon the nation of Egypt, and the Red Sea part right before their eyes. They knew what God was able to do, but they never really became partakers of it. They witnessed it but they themselves were not walking in the supernatural.<\/p>\n

It is so critical today that you listen to the right voices, for we are living in a day of sorrows. As this world continues to spiral downward into deeper confusion, distress, division, hatred, and war, you and I are called to be a supernatural testimony of who God is on the earth. We are called to stand with the strength that only He can give, to have wisdom that could come only from Him.<\/p>\n

Now is not the time to be under the ministry of somebody who is not truly walking in the supernatural and instead has risen to their position merely by natural means—perhaps their gifted speaking ability or their great intellect. If you are listening to teaching that is not stirring your heart to believe God, you need to get out of that place. As brilliant as the report might be, the Bible calls it evil if it is not leading you into faith. If it is merely an exercise in intellect—a discovering and rediscovering of the fruit—but nothing in it leads you to believe that it can actually be yours, it is an evil report.<\/p>\n

In fact, the apostle Paul gave us a warning regarding such leaders, saying, \"[Pray] that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith<\/em>\" (2 Thessalonians 3:2). In other words, not everyone who preaches the Word of God believes that He is still able to do the miraculous today. Therefore, you must pray to be delivered from unreasonable people whose theological focus is all in the natural.<\/p>\nANOTHER KIND OF LEADER <\/span>\n

In contrast to the ten spies, the apostle Paul said, \"My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 2:4–5). Now Paul was anything but a weak man in the natural. He was a leader among leaders. He even once declared that concerning the works of the law, he was blameless (see Philippians 3:6).<\/p>\n

Nevertheless, when Paul came to Christ, he said, \"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ<\/em>\" (Philippians 3:7–8). In other words, \"I do not want any more of Paul; I want everything of Christ. I do not want anything left of natural wisdom. I would rather stand in weakness and trembling so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. I desire that the people I speak to would not be looking to a man but rather to Christ inside of me—as not only my hope, but as their hope as well.\"<\/p>\n

I know that I would not want to listen to a preacher who has no personal testimony of the miraculous power of God at work in his or her life. I would much rather listen to somebody like Paul who stands in weakness and trembling—the kind of person you could look at and say, \"There is a power touching my heart that I know cannot come from this physical vessel. It must be from the Spirit at work inside of this one who is speaking to me. Lord, let that be my portion in the days ahead!\"<\/p>\n

Unfortunately, listening to the voices of the ten spies ultimately caused the people to end up in a wilderness where they died. Likewise, if the voices you are listening to today are not provoking you to faith, you will die in a spiritual wilderness. You will simply live through an endless succession of funerals, which was exactly what the Israelites experienced for forty years until eventually they all died and another generation arose.<\/p>\nHOW THE WALLS FALL<\/span>\n

Finally, a new generation was about to go in and possess this Promised Land which the others had forfeited through their unbelief. This time, however, they were to go with the instruction that God gave to Joshua: \"'See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.'...Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, 'You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, \"Shout!\" Then you shall shout'<\/em>\" (Joshua 6:2, 10). In other words, \"We are going to go in and take the land, but this time we are going to be quiet. We do not need to listen to any voices telling us how many giants are in the land!\"<\/p>\n

Note that when they walked in and surrounded Jericho for seven days, they had no weaponry. In the natural, they were insufficient for the battle before them. Nevertheless, they chose to simply obey God and be quiet. It was just as the Lord said in Isaiah 30:15, \"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.<\/em>\" One more time, walking around the city, they were quiet and confident—thinking about the promises of God, remembering the history of who God was—until that moment when an inner shout came into their hearts. I believe that by the time Joshua told them to shout, the people simply could not contain it any longer, for God had already convinced their hearts that they had the victory!<\/p>\n

And so I challenge you today: As you go around about your city, as you are tempted to think of all the things that you are fighting to get through, begin to think, instead, about all the things that God has done. Meditate on His Word. If there is anything pure, anything lovely, anything of virtue, anything of a good report, think on these things, and the God of peace will be with you (see Philippians 4:8–9).<\/p>\n

Suddenly, confidence will fill your heart. \"God, I am going to trust You. I am going to believe You for my family. I am going to believe that You will heal the wounds of my past. I am going to trust You for my future. I am not listening to any voices anymore that say I am not smart enough or strong enough. Let the evil reporters die in the wilderness; I am going with You! I do not care what giants I have to face, for You are going to take my life in its total nothingness and raise it up to be something that brings glory to Your name!\"<\/p>\n

Then one day, when you cannot contain it any longer, you are going to shout so loud that your whole neighborhood will hear! The Scripture tells us that when the Israelites shouted, the walls of Jericho fell, and every person went into that city and took the victory. Today, as we trust God in our own cities, I believe we are going to take with us into God's Kingdom a multitude of people too numerous to count, and we are going to do it by the power of God!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of a sermon given on October 15, 2017 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City, \"HOW MANY CHRISTIANS WEEP ON SUNDAY NIGHT?\" Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"37":{"sm_title":"The Theological Error of \"WhatHowWhen\"","sm_id":"295","sm_desc":"Discouragement comes when we begin to lose courage on our forward journey. Sometimes the journey we have crafted for our future is partly true and partly fiction. We fall into the theological error of \"WhatHowWhen\" when we know what God has promised us but we want to tell him \"how\" and \"when\" to do it. In the midst of all our discouragement Jesus still comes and reminds us that He will never leave us of forsake us. Be encouraged, the plan that God decreed for your life is still unfolding and it will happen in God's time and in His way. ","sm_jpg":"48209_jb_20171001.jpg","sm_date":"2017-12","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/10\/01s1\/20171001s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/10\/01s1\/20171001s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"1uRNX6P3NtA","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48283_sermon-newsletter-201712-the-theological-error-of-whathowwhen.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

The Bible tells us that in the last days, iniquities shall abound, and the love of many will grow cold. Who can deny that iniquity is abounding today? As society continues to spiral down into deeper darkness almost every day, it can become easy to grow cold to every form of love–particularly the love of the lost. Eventually, many Christians will end up in discouragement. In fact, some are already discouraged. And even for those who are not, I hope this message will help protect your heart from the discouragement that might await you in the future.<\/p>\n

The book of Luke tells us of a time when two disciples \"were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him<\/em>\" (Luke 24:13-16). These two were so engrossed in their own reasoning–their own assessment of what had just taken place with the crucifixion of Jesus–that they could not see when the Lord Himself began to walk with them.<\/p>\n

\"And He said to them, 'What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?'... So they said to Him, '...the chief priests and our rulers delivered [Jesus] to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping'<\/em>\" (Luke 24:17, 19-21). Things were spiraling down in a way never thought possible. What was actually a great victory was nothing but defeat in their eyes. This, of course, is the same dilemma that you and I fall into. We think we know what God is about to do, and we formulate in our minds the complete picture of how everything ought to unfold. Yet when it does not develop, we find ourselves battling discouragement.<\/p>\n

Discouragement, by definition, means to lose courage on your forward journey. It is like crossing a deep ravine on a narrow wooden footbridge that suddenly begins to fall apart right before your eyes. You thought you fully understood the path before you, but now it is disappearing. Quite often it happens because the pathway we have crafted for ourselves is partly truth and partly fiction.<\/p>\nWE WERE HOPING<\/span>\n

There are plenty of examples of this in the Scriptures. For example, in the gospel of Matthew, the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with a request. \"He said to her, 'What do you wish?' She said to Him, 'Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom'<\/em>\" (Matthew 20:21). She, like most people, had an impression that the Kingdom of God was going to come immediately– along with an idea of what it was going to look like.<\/p>\n

\"Jesus answered and said, 'You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?' They said to Him, 'We are able'<\/em>\" (Matthew 20:22). What do you think they were picturing? Perhaps they saw themselves sitting at the right and left hand of Jesus as kings, ruling and reigning with Him, while servants came up to them with a nice cup of red wine. They had no idea that He was talking about suffering and rejection.<\/p>\n

Later, we see Peter put his sword in his belt at the Last Supper. After all, Jesus told them, \"He who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one<\/em>\" (Luke 22:36). So Peter took his sword, and in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas and the betrayers came, he was ready to fight. He ended up cutting off the ear of the high priest's servant. I am sure he had the ticker tape victory parade down the Broadway of Jerusalem already playing in his mind. \"Yes, Jesus and I won the victory. Rome's dominion over our society has been destroyed!\"<\/p>\n

And then in John, when officers from the chief priests and Pharisees came to Gethsemane to arrest Christ, He asked them, \"'Whom are you seeking?' They answered Him, 'Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus said to them, 'I am He.'...Now when He said to them, 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground<\/em>\" (John 18:4-6). There must have been people there who were thinking, \"Aha! The Kingdom of God has finally come!\" And James and John probably thought, \"Wow, now we are really close to sitting at the right and left hand of Christ!\" Yet in each of these incidents, it was not long before they all saw Jesus led away captive, and they were left to flee, discouraged.<\/p>\nTHE ERROR<\/span>\n

Here was their error: They took three separate moments and combined them into one word: \"whathowwhen\"–what, how, when. First of all, they knew what Christ came to do. He had once declared Himself to be the One sent of God to fulfill the promise He made to His people: \"He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed<\/em>\" (Luke 4:18). I guess you cannot blame them, for when you look at this verse in its full context, it appears to offer immediate victory.<\/p>\n

And so knowing what Jesus came to do, they made another mistake that we, too, often make: They formulated in their own minds how and when He needed to do it. For example, there are people who are lonely, yet they know that Christ came to meet the needs of their heart. They can look at the Garden to Eden and say, \"Lord, You saw that Adam was lonely, and so You made a wife for him. I see in the Scriptures what You came to do!\" But the problem with all of humanity is that since we know what God came to do, we start to tell Him how and when He is going to do it.<\/p>\n

A young man sitting in church felt that way when he looked across the sanctuary and saw the woman he just knew must be his wife. \"Oh, God, thank You for meeting the need of my heart!\" After the service when he went to speak to her, he discovered she did not speak a word of English! She was not even from America but was only visiting.<\/p>\n

Just like the men on the road to Emmaus, when things do not happen our way, we walk away discouraged. That is the theological error of whathowwhen. Of course, the promises of God are \"yea and amen.\" Everything He said He is going to do for us, He will do–but not always the way we think it should be done!<\/p>\nWHEN WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND<\/span>\n

The good news is that even when we are confused and discouraged, Jesus still comes and walks alongside us. Think about it: Jesus had a lot of people left in that upper room. He had many seekers in Jerusalem. But He left all of that to go after people who were walking away in discouragement from the place of promise.<\/p>\n

Later in the Scriptures, it says, \"And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther<\/em>\" (Luke 24:27). In other words, the Lord says, \"I am not going to force you to understand when everything seems to be going wrong. I will not push Myself on you, but if you desire, I will open to you the Scriptures and show you things you may not have considered yet.\"<\/p>\n

Now most of these disciples had walked with Him for three years, and nothing was hidden from them. Jesus told them plainly that He was going to be betrayed, crucified, and raised from the dead on the third day. Yet almost nobody was able to hear it because they were locked into the theological error of knowing how and when the kingdom of God was supposed to work.<\/p>\n

Even today, what if God is preparing us for a very hard time to come? Are we willing to let the Lord begin to unlock the Scriptures and show us that His ways are not our ways, and His plans are not our plans?<\/p>\nTHEIR EYES WERE OPENED<\/span>\n

\"They drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, 'Abide with us'<\/em>\" (Luke 24:28-29). There was something in them that desired Him, even though His message was hard to hear. After all, none of us really want to suffer. Nevertheless, something in their hearts was saying, \"This is right. God is not called to be my servant. I am called to be a servant of the Most High God.\"<\/p>\n

The Bible says they constrained Him, saying, \"Abide with us because it is getting dark, and the day is coming to an end\" (see Luke 24:29). That must be the cry of our hearts now in this generation. \"God, maybe I got it all wrong, but something is burning inside of me. Please give me strength because it is getting dark. Help me to be willing to follow Your plan rather than mine.\"<\/p>\n

\"Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight<\/em>\" (Luke 24:30-31). Their eyes were opened as He broke bread! Jesus was broken so that they might be made whole; He was given for them. Now He was giving them for the sake of others. Suddenly, they began to see that the Kingdom of God was about more than living to see their own views fulfilled, and they now had power to rise up and go back.<\/p>\n

No, they were not going back to what looked like a place of victory in the natural. They were going back into a society that had just crucified Christ and was in no mood to endure His followers. But they were heading back with the understanding that there was a deeper purpose. It is as if they could somehow sense Jesus' explanation: \"Yes, James and John, you will rule and reign one day. Yes, Peter, you did win the victory. I do have all power and all authority, and I could have claimed the Kingdom. But if I had done so at that time, myriads of people, including those in the year 2017, would have had no hope. So for their sakes, I am leaving you in these places of confusion and difficulty. I am leaving you as a testimony of who I am and what I am willing to do.\"<\/p>\n

And so the two disciples rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the other disciples and said, \"'The Lord is risen indeed'...And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them and said to them, 'Peace to you'<\/em>\" (Luke 24:34-36).<\/p>\n

What a beautiful picture! People who formerly were discouraged now understood that Jesus was given for them, and He was now calling them to be given for others. And notice that it was when they had begun to share about their experience with Him that Jesus appeared in their midst. Likewise, as we allow ourselves to be yielded for His purpose and tell others about the depth of His love, He appears and says, \"Peace.\" He appears in our testimony, and He starts speaking peace to troubled hearts all around us!<\/p>\n

And so we see how imperative it is that we escape our own theological error. We must remember that God's ways are higher than ours and trust that what may look like defeat is actually victory. Like the disciples, let's ask Jesus to abide with us and show us where true strength is found. And then as we begin to reach out to others, He will appear through our testimony and touch this generation.<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"The Theological Error of \"WhatHowWhen\",\" a sermon given on October 1, 2017 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"38":{"sm_title":"When Christians Make Mistakes","sm_id":"293","sm_desc":"Have you ever been disappointed in God? Are you among those sitting in the house of God feeling a little outside of it all, wondering if your relationship with God could ever be the way it once was? In these seasons we are prone to make the mistakes. Discouragement and bitterness against God come into the heart when the plan doesn't move forward like we thought it should move forward. Your plans may have amounted to nothing but God's plan is still ongoing and God's plan is the best plan of all. God hasn't written you off, He has not forgotten you and the best for your life is yet to come. Today, if you are hungry and thirsty come home to God.","sm_jpg":"48150_jb_20170820.jpg","sm_date":"2017-11","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/08\/20s1\/20170820s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/08\/20s1\/20170820s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"qyWJ-u7vyLc","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48249_sermon-newsletter-201711-when-christians-make-mistakes.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"So Peter went out and wept bitterly<\/em>\" (Luke 22:62). In this scene just before Jesus' crucifixion, we see Peter weeping inconsolably, stunned by his own sense of failure. After all, he was the one who seemingly had the most passion of those who were following Christ. He was the disciple who said to Jesus, \"Others may run from You, but I will not.\" At another time, he declared, \"I am willing not just to live with You but to die for You and with You in Jerusalem!\" (see Matthew 26:35). However, only a very short time later Peter denied he even knew Christ, swearing with an oath to this effect.<\/p>\n

I feel in my spirit that a lot of bitter weeping is going on in the Body of Jesus Christ today–that many disappointed, disillusioned people feel they have somehow failed God. They remember the days when they loved to pray– when they could not wait to tell people about Jesus. But something happened along the way. They feel as if they have made a mistake of some sort, and now they don't know if their relationship with God can ever be as it once was.<\/p>\n

If you are among those who have been feeling this way, I hope you will be encouraged to remember that Christians do make mistakes. In fact, let's take a look at a few of the common mistakes I believe every Christian is prone to making.<\/p>\nRELYING ON HUMAN REASONING<\/span>\n

The first mistake that Christians often make is substituting human reasoning for divine counsel. The Scripture tells us in the book of Acts: \"All the early disciples continued with one accord in prayer and supplication\"(see Acts 1:14). Now, when you and I pray, ideas will come into our heart. However, we must remember that they are not always from God, even though we are praying. Our fallen nature desires to be as God is, and every once in a while it will still whisper something. It wants to declare something to be a good idea which, even though it is good, might not be God's idea for the moment.<\/p>\n

The next verse goes on to tell us that Peter stood up and recounted how Judas betrayed the Son of God, bought a field with the reward of his betrayal, and then fell to his own death (1:15-19). Peter then quoted a Scripture, saying, \"'Let his dwelling place be desolate, and let no one live in it' and,'Let another take his office'<\/em>\" (Acts 1:20).<\/p>\n

Peter had an idea in his heart. Even though he had wept bitterly, even though he had made tremendous mistakes, he still had a strong will. \"'Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord, Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.' And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, 'You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen'<\/em>\" (Acts 1:21-24). This is only conjecture, but I believe when God speaks, He does not present us two choices. When we end up with two choices, many times they are good ideas that have come from the heart of man. I have been in enough board meetings to have seen this happen over and over again.<\/p>\n

So how did they figure out who was going to be the twelfth apostle? They cast lots! The lot fell upon Matthias, so he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Yet you never hear of him again!<\/p>\n

You see, somebody did have to take that twelfth place, but they needed to learn to wait on God rather than substituting human reasoning for divine counsel. When human reasoning gets into the Church of Jesus Christ, we are essentially trying to promote a supernatural kingdom in a natural way, and the two simply do not go together. The man God had chosen to be the twelfth apostle was not saved yet–his name was Saul of Tarsus. When you read Paul's letters, they say, \"Paul, chosen by God, called to be an apostle<\/em>\"(see 1 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1). Paul knew that he was called, and he was actually the one chosen by God to become the greatest apostle of all times.<\/p>\nHARBORING BITTERNESS AGAINST GOD<\/span>\n

Allowing discouragement and bitterness against God to enter the heart when a plan does not move forward as expected is a second common mistake of Christians. Consider Peter at the Last Supper. Zealous to serve God with all his heart, he suddenly heard Jesus say, \"Whoever does not have a sword, get one now. For it is written, he was numbered against the transgressors\"(see Luke 22:36-37). So Peter got his sword, stuck it in his belt, and promised to fight to the end for this Man he believed to be the Son of God.<\/p>\n

Later in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas and the band of zealots came to take Christ captive, Peter drew his sword and took a swipe at the high priest, cutting off his ear (see Matthew 26:51). Now Peter was serving God the way he felt he has been instructed to. But Jesus reached to the ground, picked up the ear, put it back on his head, and then turned to Peter and said, \"Put your sword away\"(see Matthew 26:52). Imagine how Peter must have felt as he stood there. \"I trusted You; I have sincerely followed You. But now You have left me standing here, looking like a fool!\"<\/p>\n

Have you ever felt you had a direct word from the Lord and set out to do it, only to have it all seem to blow up in your face? I am sure we have all had those moments when we end up thinking, as Peter did, \"I don't know You! I don't even know if You know what You are doing. You give all these contrary instructions. If You didn't want me to use the sword, why did You tell me to get the sword in the first place?\"<\/p>\n

Of course, there might be something a little deeper in the instruction of God. We often assume that we know exactly what He means when He sends us out to do something. Then when it does not work out as we thought, we become discouraged and even bitter.<\/p>\n

It is difficult for Christians to admit that they have become bitter against God. A famous evangelist, in his eighties at the time, told me about his grandchild who contracted cancer. He prayed and fasted and believed this little three-year-old girl was going to be healed, but she died. And as a result, he became very bitter toward God. Something in the heart says, \"Lord, I have served You all these years. I have honored Your Son and Your family; I have fed Your sheep. All I am asking You for is this one little life. Will You not spare it?\" After she died, he and I were sitting in a restaurant together, and he said, \"Pastor, the only reason I did not turn from God when my granddaughter died is that I had come too far to turn back.\"Nevertheless, he was angry with God but at least he had the courage to admit it.<\/p>\n

Even David the psalmist once said, \"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me? And from the words of My groaning. O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:1-2). In effect, David was saying, \"I am doing my part. Why are You not doing Yours? I am praying, I am crying out, I am seeking justice and righteousness. God, I know You have the power to make a difference, but why are You silent in the midst of my prayer?\"Although it may feel as if God does not hear our cries, we must not forget that God's ways are not our ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts. He has never left us nor forsaken us. And so we must carefully guard our hearts against bitterness.<\/p>\nGIVING UP ON PEOPLE<\/span>\n

The third common mistake that Christians make is writing off people whom God has not written off. That is part of the reason why so many feel distant from God. For example, the apostle Paul had taken a young man named Mark with him on his journey. Now Mark was not ready for martyrdom the way Paul was. Paul was a zealot before he got saved, and he brought a great measure of that zeal into the kingdom of God. On the other hand, Mark was young. Perhaps he was thinking, \"Look, Paul, I have a life to live. Everywhere you go, you are crawling out from under a pile of rocks. I am just not ready for that.\" So he left, and Paul was so angered by it that he wrote Mark off as useless and no good for the kingdom of God. In fact, Paul was so adamant about this that he even split up a good friendship with Barnabas over it (see Acts 15:38-39).<\/p>\n

Of course, we know that God had not written Mark off. God was not finished with this young man, who eventually ended up writing the gospel of Mark! And so we must remember: We reap what we sow. If we sow judgment toward others who have failed in our sight, we reap judgment without mercy. None of us are walking in absolute perfection anyway. Learn to be kind toward others. Watch what happens when you start extending mercy to other people. Suddenly you will become very aware of the mercy and longsuffering of God toward you!<\/p>\nPRAYING WITHOUT FAITH<\/span>\n

Another common mistake Christians are prone to making is praying without truly believing that God will answer. We come to the prayer meeting because it is the thing to do. We pray for family members, communities, leaders–but deep down in our heart, we do not actually believe that God is going to answer our prayers. As a result, prayer becomes a mere religious exercise. That is why Jesus once asked, \"When the Son of Man returns, will He find the kind of faith that will not give up until it has its answer?\" (see Luke 18:8).<\/p>\n

We see this in the early Church in the book of Acts. At the time, King Herod had been imprisoning Christians and he even killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. Many were pleased that such violent persecution was coming against the people of God. And so Herod seized Peter and put him in prison as well. He surrounded him with four squads of soldiers and put guards before the door of the prison. He intended to bring Peter out for judgment just to please this society's blood lust toward the testimony of Christ.<\/p>\n

What did the Church do? They did what they knew they were supposed to do: They gathered to pray for Peter. I can imagine how the prayer meeting must have sounded. \"O God, have mercy on Peter. O God, have mercy on the Christian Church. O God, set Peter free.\"<\/p>\n

As they were gathered praying, the Bible tells that suddenly, \"As Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate<\/em>\" (Acts 12:13-14). This is exactly what they were praying for! \"But they said to her, 'You are beside yourself'<\/em>\" (verse 15). In other words, \"You are mad.\" She kept insisting, \"Peter's at the door. Peter's at the door.\" So they said, \"It is his angel.\" In other words, \"It is not Peter. It is just a messenger telling us that all is well. It is something spiritual.\"Have you ever noticed how we try to spiritualize unbelief?<\/p>\n

Peter continued knocking, and when they finally opened the door, they were astonished to see him. You see, they were praying for his freedom, but they did not believe God was going to answer their prayer! They did not believe that before the prayer meeting was over, the answer would be at the door!<\/p>\n

May you and I not make this same mistake as we pray for a spiritual awakening in this nation. We must believe that when we pray, mountains can still be moved. Jesus made a promise that whatever you ask, believing, you shall receive (see Matthew 21:22).<\/p>\nGOD'S PLAN IS GOING FORWARD<\/span>\n

Here is the conclusion of what we have been discussing: You may have made mistakes, but God's plan for your life has not been thwarted! Remember, Matthias disappeared, but Paul stood up and the plan of God went forward. And so if you are disillusioned; if you misunderstood the Lord; if you felt like you were left standing like a fool in the presence of God; if what you thought was God did not materialize; or if you have not been believing your prayers will be answered–God has not forgotten you! He has not written you off. You are as precious to Him–as valuable to Him–today as you were before you ever even understood who He was.<\/p>\n

Think about it this way: We all have made mistakes, we all have failed in some way–yet it is almost as if Christ needed a Church who understood what we really are without Him. That way, when He does what only He can do, we will not touch the glory that belongs to God alone. When our prayers are answered, when family members we did not believe God could save start coming home, we will not touch the glory! Furthermore, when we have been in that examining room with the Holy Spirit, we are no longer quick to judge others. We are quicker to embrace people in their weakness, for we recognize that we, too, have been embraced in our failure.<\/p>\n

So take heart whenever you feel the temptation to weep bitterly over your failure. Allow the Lord to comfort you and touch your life with His mercy. Choose to believe that He has not forsaken you–that His plan for your life will be fulfilled. In fact, the best is yet to come!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"WHEN CHRISTIANS MAKE MISTAKES,\" a sermon given on August 20, 2017 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"39":{"sm_title":"Push Back the Darkness","sm_id":"291","sm_desc":"We are living in an age of darkness and without God intervening, this generation will end up hopeless. We are up against a lawlessness that sets itself against all that is from God. We must never lose sight that the battle we fight is for the souls of men. It doesn't matter how difficult life looks when we turn to God in prayer we are empowered to pull down every stronghold. We must take a stand by getting on our knees to push back the darkness and bring about a season of mercy through prayer.","sm_jpg":"48057_jb_20170618.jpg","sm_date":"2017-10","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/06\/18s1\/20170618s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/06\/18s1\/20170618s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"gbcPwT1i1Vk","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48208_sermon-newsletter-201710-push-back-the-darkness.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

A new law was recently passed in Ontario, Canada, stating that if your son, at the age of eight, decides that he is a girl, yet you refuse to let him go to school in a dress, the government has a right to take that child out of your home.<\/p>\n

Clearly, we are living in a perilous time—an age of lawlessness that the Scriptures warned us about. We read in the Bible that there will be unspeakable darkness and a great falling away in the last days before Christ returns, but most of us probably never thought we would live to see a day quite like this. And if you think this is bad, I fear what kind of generation we will leave for our sons and daughters, without God's intervention.<\/p>\n

Now before he became king, David also lived in a season when his own nation was in a fearful spiritual decline. Self-will and spiritualism under King Saul was on full display, leading the nation toward what inevitably would become a certain defeat, without divine intervention. David soon found himself being pursued by an army that hoped to cast off all that represented God. Of course, we know that David ultimately ended up being someone who made a difference.<\/p>\n

In an hour when perversion is paraded and morality is degraded, you and I are the only ones who can bring a spiritual awakening back to the nation, just as David was in his day. We have power with God to bring a moment of mercy—to push back the darkness that wants to swallow our society!<\/p>\nA DIFFERENT SPIRIT<\/span>\n

So the question now is: What exactly are we supposed to do?<\/p>\n

Let's take a look at what David did in Psalm 140. He was in a cave when he penned this psalm, and there was talk of violence everywhere. A madman was pursuing him, and his own people were urging him to kill King Saul. However, David understood that this was not how the kingdom of God was going to advance and so he did what you and I must to do today: pray for deliverance from the spirit of the age. \"Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts<\/em>\" (Psalm 140:1–2).<\/p>\n

David was not referring only to the people outside who were pursuing him but those inside as well—those whose speech was given to other than godliness, who were looking for a solution in human terms. You see, David felt called to something higher than the petty violence and grievance of his generation, though nobody around him seemed to understand. David was the Christ type of his generation—an example of somebody who was governed, guided and empowered by the Spirit of God.<\/p>\n

We, too, must pray for deliverance from the spirit of this age, saying, \"Lord, I do not want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution. Help me to get my mind back on spiritual things. Get me away from the media and anything that might poison my spirit and cause my speech to lose its effectiveness as it becomes exactly the way of the world. God, give me a spirit different from that of this age. Give me Your Holy Spirit! Give me Your thoughts, Your mind, Your compassion for the multitudes. Help me to love even my enemies.\"<\/p>\n

David goes on in that psalm, \"I said to the Lord, 'You are my God. Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord. O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted'<\/em>\" (Psalm 140:6–8). In other words, \"Cover my head in the day of battle, and help me not to listen to the voice of the enemy. Help me not to succumb to the threats of the wicked.\"<\/p>\n

I am sure David remembered when he was young and a voice arose on the opposite side of the valley, challenging the armies of Israel. Day after day, Goliath would come out, essentially saying, \"You do not have the power to overcome what is against you, so yield to it now rather than be humiliated\" (see 1 Samuel 17:8–10). Yet David, refusing the armor Saul offered him, discovered that God was faithful to cover his head in the battle and shield him from the enemy's taunts. Instead of listening to the voice of that generation, David had a word from God. He courageously ran into that valley toward Goliath, saying, \"You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 17:45). This weaponry looked foolish in the natural, but we know that David went on to win a great victory over Goliath! And so if we, too, ask God to cover our heads in the day of battle, I believe He will help us not to succumb to the voices of this generation.<\/p>\nMAKING MEN MIGHTY<\/span>\n

Not only did David ask God to deliver him from the spirit of that age, but he said in Psalm 142, \"The righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me<\/em>\" (verse 7). This brings us to another thing you must do if you want to push back the darkness in this hour: Believe that your life will make a difference! Believe that God's life inside of you will greatly impact the people around you—so much so that they will make a difference in this generation as well!<\/p>\n

Notice that when David said \"the righteous shall surround me,\" it was actually a prayer of faith, for around him at the time were discontented, distressed men who were in debt (see 1 Samuel 22:2). They wanted David to resort to violence and engage in a physical fight, but David understood something that they didn't: The battle they were called to was much deeper. In the same way, we must remember that we do not fight with physical weaponry as the people of this world do. We fight with spiritual weaponry; we fight with prayer; we fight with righteous living.<\/p>\n

And so it was as if David was saying, \"I see a day when the righteous will surround me—those whose hearts are right, those who make right choices. They will understand the true battle we face as well as the power God is willing to give His people.\" As they witnessed David living with a different spirit and saw the hand of God evident in his life, something changed in those men, and they emerged from that cave as mighty. They took on battles that could have been won only by the strength given them by God; they became men who changed their generation!<\/p>\nTHE VICTORY IS OURS<\/span>\n

There is a third thing David did that we must do in this hour: He believed that God would give him the victory—one that would result in abundant thanksgiving. At the end of Psalm 140, David said, \"I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence<\/em>\" (verse 12). Similarly, you and I must believe God will give us the victory we need in this hour and that worship and thanksgiving will become the portion of multitudes in the days just ahead.<\/p>\n

That was David's declaration in the cave, despite what things looked like in the moment. Think about it: There were only 400 with him while thousands were against him. He did not know whom he could trust anymore. Nevertheless, David knew that the only One he could fully trust was still with him. The One who had given him victory over a lion, a bear, and a giant was still his God—no matter how difficult his life looked.<\/p>\n

You and I would be wise to learn this lesson from history. Yes, in the natural, we are on the weaker side. But in the spiritual, we are already more than conquerors. We are seated at the right hand of Almighty God— the One who already destroyed the power of darkness and sits in all power and authority. We have direct access to the throne of God; we have power to push back the darkness and believe that there will be victory and rejoicing in the days ahead!<\/p>\n

The Bible tells us that David lived to see the victory he believed God for. As God's presence was being ushered back into Jerusalem—as the heart and will of God was being fulfilled—David could not contain himself any longer. He began to dance before the Ark with all his might (see 2 Samuel 6:12–14). I believe there were probably many people dancing with him, for they knew that only God could have given them the victory!<\/p>\nLIGHT OVERCOMES DARKNESS<\/span>\n

We are at a crossroads in the Church of Jesus Christ. We must press in and fight to push back the darkness. Think for a moment how darkness can encompass an entire ocean. Storms can come and threaten to swallow sailors and travelers, making their passage impossible. Yet all that is needed to counter the darkness and bring multitudes to safety is a lightbulb. I have been in lighthouses all over the place, and it is amazing when you consider the immensity of the darkness, the ferocity of the wind and the waves—all that seems to be opposing travelers on their journey— and then you realize that a small lightbulb, put in the proper place, can diffuse it all! It can send out a beam for miles, saying, \"This way to safety!\" No matter how hard it tries, darkness cannot hide the light.<\/p>\n

No wonder Jesus said, \"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden<\/em>\" (Matthew 5:14). If you and I are willing to be given for the sake of others, we cannot be hidden. Sadly, for too long in America, Christianity has focused on itself, allowing this society to devolve into the darkness that is now threatening to swallow multitudes. However, we can still be the city set upon the hill if we are willing to make the journey.<\/p>\n

It is important to keep in mind that this is not an hour for self-seeking. This is not an hour for those who pray the foolish prayer of Hezekiah. He was a man who won incredible victories, but at the end of his days, when a prophet told him that his sons were going to be taken captive, Hezekiah praised him, essentially saying, \"As long as it doesn't happen in my day, isn't that a good thing?\"(see 2 Kings 20:19). Likewise, there are people in this generation who are saying, \"Well, as long as I am dead before all this evil comes on society, isn't that a good thing?\" No, it is never a good thing! It is only a good thing for those whose entire Christianity is all about themselves. May God deliver us from this childish foolishness and make us men and women of God! May God cause us to understand that we have power to make a difference in our generation and those to come!<\/p>\n

I recently told my wife, \"Whatever happens to me, I want you to tell our grandchildren that I fought for them. I was not willing to let them be swallowed by a darkened time.\"I pray that would be the story of every man and woman reading this. \"Tell the next generation I fought for them. I did not live my Christian life merely for myself. I stood up and was counted among those who belong to God!\"<\/p>\n

I recently told my wife, \"Whatever happens to me, I want you to tell our grandchildren that I fought for them. I was not willing to let them be swallowed by a darkened time.\"I pray that would be the story of every man and woman reading this. \"Tell the next generation I fought for them. I did not live my Christian life merely for myself. I stood up and was counted among those who belong to God!\"<\/p>\n

Remember, the Bible says that \"when darkness comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against it\" (see Isaiah 59:19). Therefore, I am confident that God will take all of us who have willing hearts and make us more than we are. He will give us faith that is beyond our natural ability, words that are deeper than anything we can think up. He will give us passion and power to fight for everybody, even our enemies. The Lord will cause our lives to impact those around us, and He will give us a great victory which will result in an abundance of thanksgiving to the glory of His name!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"Push Back The Darkness,\" a sermon given on June 18, 2017 in the sanctuary of\nTimes Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome\nto make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or\nelectronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without\npermission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"40":{"sm_title":"A Thief In a Parking Lot","sm_id":"289","sm_desc":"The thief has come to kill your future and family, to steal your joy and hope and to kill your effectiveness on earth. The devil will have us believe we will always be in pursuit of a victory we will never catch. Today we are reminded that we have been given weaponry in Christ to pursue the kingdom of darkness and pulldown strongholds. As the Church of Jesus Christ we should stop sniffling and stand up against Satan because we have a General that is so powerful the mention of His name can fold up the universe. Everyone has a plan until somebody punches them in the mouth\u00e2\u20ac\u201dIt's time to punch the devil in the mouth.","sm_jpg":"48076_jb_20170702.jpg","sm_date":"2017-09","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/07\/02s1\/20170702s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/07\/02s1\/20170702s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"-xSKdGus5Hs","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48168_sermon-newsletter-201709-a-thief-in-a-parking-lot.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Very early one morning many years ago when I was a young police officer, I received a call that an alarm had gone off at a local dentist's office. I was the only officer to respond to the call, and as I arrived, the thief was just emerging from the office with stolen goods in his backpack. Seeing me, he took off running, and I followed in hot pursuit. After a short chase, we ended up in a vacant parking lot where he stopped suddenly, turned, raised his fists, and exclaimed, \"It's only you and me now.\" About eight seconds later, it was only me.<\/p>\n

Jesus once said, \"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly<\/em>\" (John 10:10). You and I also face a thief today –one who has come to steal our future, our families, our joy, our hope, and our effectiveness on the Earth. However, Jesus is reminding us that He has made a way for us to have an abundant life. And so it is important that we understand that we have the power to overtake this thief, just as I did that morning in the parking lot.<\/p>\nTHE THIEF'S FIRST ERROR<\/span>\n

The thief I encountered made four presumptive errors that I believe are reflective of the way the enemy works today. First of all, he presumed that he could outrun me. What he did not know was that I actually liked to run! In fact, back in those days, I worked out two hours a day and ran at least two miles every night.<\/p>\n

Similarly, the devil would like for you to believe that you will never catch him. He will try to convince you that you will constantly be in pursuit of a victory just out of reach. However, I remind you that Satan is a liar. God has called as well as equipped you to overpower him. David the psalmist said it this way: \"For by You I can run against a troop. By my God I can leap over a wall<\/em>\" (Psalm 18:29). He went on to say, \"I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. I have wounded them, so that they could not rise; they have fallen under my feet. For you have armed me with strength for the battle<\/em>\"(verses 37–38).<\/p>\n

A lot of people think the Christian life is about having power to just hold down the fort–to somehow put up a shield so that the devil cannot hurt us anymore. Yes, that is part of it, but we have been given power for so much more. We are called to pursue the kingdom of darkness! We have been given power, just as Jesus was by the Spirit of God, to open prison doors and see wounded hearts healed; to see blind eyes given vision for the future; and to see captives set free. When Jesus said, \"You are My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against you\" (see Matthew 16:18), He did not mean the gates of hell coming our way, He meant us in an offensive against the gates of hell! Remember, the enemy cannot outrun us. The gates of hell cannot hold the Church captive when she finally realizes who she is in Christ and begins to pursue the powers of darkness.<\/p>\nTHE THIEF'S SECOND ERROR<\/span>\n

The second presumptive error made by the thief in the parking lot was that he could keep what he had stolen. He somehow assumed that I would not be able to take it back from him. However, consider the words of Jesus: \"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils<\/em>\"(Luke 11:21–22). The devil cannot keep what he has stolen from you!<\/p>\n

Let me illustrate this with another example from my life. When I was fifteen, I began to suffer from panic attacks due to immense pressure in my life. I felt inadequate to achieve the goals that others placed on me, so anxiety and fear became a deep part of my life. It crippled me to the point that I found it hard to ride on a bus or even leave the house at times. It was a very, very difficult season in my life.<\/p>\n

I thank God that I later came to Christ. Yet, one night after getting saved, I felt another panic attack coming on. Even though I was now a Christian, the devil tried to convince me that he could keep what he had stolen. He had stolen my confidence. He had stolen my voice and, in many ways, he had stolen my future. It was as if Satan was saying, \"Okay, I have lost you to Christ. I will agree with you that you have eternal life. But the abundant life is not going to be yours, so just be content with what you have.\"<\/p>\n

In the past when I had felt a panic attack coming, I immediately had popped Valium pills, often topping them off with an eight-ounce glass of whiskey to get myself through. But that night, I got up, and in my heart I was determined, \"No more pills! I am a believer in Christ now. No more whiskey; that is gone from my life. The Bible says, 'If God be for me, who can stand against me?'\"I did not even remember the whole verse, yet I believed it with all my heart.<\/p>\n

You see, there comes a point when we have to face the thief in the parking lot and take back what he has stolen. There is a point when we must lift our heads and roar right in the face of the devil. That is what I did that night. Right there in the middle of my living room, I declared, \"Satan, you can only kill me if God allows you to. And if He does allow you to, I am going to heaven, so I win either way. You throw at me everything you've got, but I throw at you what I now have: In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I resist you!\" Suddenly, a heat hit my feet, continued through my legs, the middle of my body, my chest, and out the top of my head. Forty years ago I was set free from nine years of hell!<\/p>\n

Paul instructs us in the book of Ephesians: \"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places...And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God<\/em>\" (Ephesians 6:10–12, 17). In other words, \"Have truth in your inward parts. Walk in a right relationship with God. Take the sword of the Spirit–the Word of God.\" I urge you–know your Bible, for it is your weaponry! I had only half a verse of Scripture that night, but because I used it, I was set free from nine years of hell on this Earth!<\/p>\nTHE THIEF'S THIRD ERROR<\/span>\n

The thief in the parking lot made a third error that night: He presumed that I was alone. As he turned and raised his fists, all he could see was one uniformed police officer and himself. What he failed to realize was that backup was on its way. At least two other officers were coming to help me. If that did not work, there were more than six hundred officers available in the police department, and if things really got out of hand, as many as were needed would be heading my way!<\/p>\n

In the same way, you must understand who is behind you. You are not facing the enemy alone. Ask the Lord to give you a vision of who you truly are in Christ; a vision of why \"even the demons believe–and tremble<\/em>\" (James 2:19). The prophet Elisha once prayed something similar in order to encourage his fearful servant. \"'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, and said, 'Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha<\/em>\"(2 Kings 6:16–17).<\/p>\n

So why should you tremble when you face the enemy? You have the weaponry of Christ. You have sufficient backup. You have brothers and sisters in Christ who will be there to help you in your time of need. You have outside forces that will come down and help you if you need them. You have hundreds in this battle with you! And best of all, at the helm you have a General so awesome that at the mere mention of His name, every knee must bow and every tongue must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! You are never alone!<\/p>\nTHE THIEF'S FOURTH ERROR<\/span>\n

The fourth presumptive error the thief made that night was his belief that his words were sufficient to resist my advance. This is a tactic often used by the enemy. Think about the time the giant Goliath was hurling accusations, trying to discourage the armies of God. As young David decided to go down into the valley to fight this bigmouth from hell, Goliath taunted him, saying, \"'Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?'And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, 'Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!'<\/em>\"(1 Samuel 17:43–44).<\/p>\n

Yet David was not stopped by Goliath's threats. The Spirit of God came upon him, and he said, \"You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands<\/em>\" (1 Samuel 17:45–47).<\/p>\n

The devil thinks that he can stop you from going forward simply with his words. But remember, you and I have the right to stand in the devil's face and say, \"In the name of Jesus Christ, I resist your weapons; I resist your advance! You are not taking my home. You are not taking my family!\"<\/p>\nTHE THIEF TODAY<\/span>\n

Today, you and I have a thief in our parking lot, and he is challenging the Church. He is trying to convince you that he is faster than you are and that he can keep what he has stolen. He is trying to make you believe that you are all alone and that he can resist you simply by his words.<\/p>\n

However, we are not unaware of his schemes (see 2 Corinthians 2:11). It is time for us to get up and say, \"No, devil. No further! As a matter of fact, you are going to back up. You are going to take a little rest now in the parking lot!\"<\/p>\n

Do not forget that you and I are called to something much deeper than merely living for ourselves. We are called to push back the powers of darkness for the sake of the captives and for the honor of the name of Jesus. By the grace of God, let's go into this battle now. Let's use our weapons of spiritual authority–weapons of understanding our identity in Christ, weapons of boldly praying as if we cannot be denied when we see it written in the Word of God. Let no thief remain in our parking lot! Let us be everything that God has called us to be!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"A Thief In a Parking Lot,\" a sermon given on July 2, 2017 in the sanctuary of\nTimes Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome\nto make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or\nelectronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without\npermission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"41":{"sm_title":"A Last Day Return to Power","sm_id":"287","sm_desc":"The church of Jesus Christ began with the promise of a divine enablement to those who would turn from their sin and recognize Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In the last days many will settle for an appearance of godliness and abandon God's purpose for them on the earth. We must beware of always learning but never allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us into the purpose and the place where truth will lead us. In the last day's the church we will end up where the church began - in the prayer room so that God's power will be rediscovered. Let us be a people full of the power of God so we can step into public view and point to Jesus Christ the Savior of the world.","sm_jpg":"48018_jb_20170521.jpg","sm_date":"2017-08","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/05\/21s1\/20170521s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/05\/21s1\/20170521s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"cTKFqDiAd18","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48128_sermon-newsletter-201708-a-last-day-return-to-power.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, and as many as the Lord our God will call'<\/em>\" (Acts 2:38–39).<\/p>\n

This was the Day of Pentecost–a day shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Triune God, came down and indwelt people. This was foreseen by some of the Old Testament prophets, though likely considered by many people in that time as an idea almost too good to be true. I am sure some people heard the words of the prophets and concluded, \"Well, maybe from time to time God found a special vessel like Elijah or King David to fill with His Spirit, but it's not for me. That is for just the important, select few.\"<\/p>\n

Yet on the Day of Pentecost, it is as if the Lord said, \"That may have been what it was like for a season, but now it is for every person, everywhere!\"According to the verse, the promise of God's Holy Spirit and power is also to \"all who are far off,\" meaning not within the physical proximity but also those who would be found in later places and later dates. That means the promise is for you and your children!<\/p>\n

This is how clearly the Lord spoke about it though the prophet Joel: \"And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions<\/em>\" (Joel 2:28). Does that leave anybody out? Is there anyone who is not a son, a daughter, young, or old? We see here that the Lord just leveled the playing field, essentially saying, \"Whoever calls on Me, I will fill with My Holy Spirit!\"<\/p>\n

Now what would be the evidence of this infilling of the Holy Spirit? \"And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you<\/em>\"(Acts 1:8). Notice that God did not say we would become an argument about Him. No! We are going to be a demonstration of His power! The verse continues, \"And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.<\/em>\"Everywhere, in all places–that includes your neighborhood, your apartment building, your office, your streets–you are to be a witness of who God is!<\/p>\n

What an incredible promise! The early Church clearly walked in this promise; there was evidence of the divine in them. The Bible says the disciples began speaking in other tongues, and there was a sudden witness of God. Onlookers acknowledged that they were all Jews who could not have learned all these languages (see Acts 2:6–8). This was something that only God could have done!<\/p>\nTHE PERIL OF THE LAST DAYS<\/span>\n

What a glorious beginning for the Church of Jesus Christ! Yet when we go to the book of Second Timothy, Paul describes a type of religion that would develop in the last days–one \"having a form of godliness but denying its power<\/em>\"(2 Timothy 3:5). In other words, many people would settle for an appearance of belonging to Jesus Christ while in reality abandoning God's intended purpose for their lives.<\/p>\n

Sadly, much of the Church in America seems to be a prime example of this. We have settled for just being churched, as if attending church every Sunday is enough. Of course, going to church is a good thing. Yet when you compare it to the second chapter of Acts, it falls far short of God's intended purpose for His Church on the earth! In fact, Paul describes this type of powerless religion as the peril of the last days!<\/p>\n

Yes, the last days will be a perilous time, as nuclear weapons are developed and governments that are against Christ rise up. But the peril Paul is talking about is the existence of a testimony so utterly devoid of the truth of God that ultimately men and women will end up in hell forever. That is the greatest peril that people in our society are facing–a peril deeper than anything else that may arise in the days ahead.<\/p>\nRELIGION WITHOUT POWER<\/span>\n

So what brought about this type of powerless religion? If we look at the verses just prior in that same chapter, we can see what happened. \"Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money<\/em>\" (2 Timothy 3:2). Much of our teaching in the Church in America today is self-focused; and much is about money. \"Give a dollar and you will get a hundred back. Give a hundred and get ten thousand back!\" If you are listening to such teaching, shut it off! You must get back to biblical Christianity.<\/p>\n

The verse continues to include \"boasters<\/em>.\" There are so many who are bragging, \"We stood in the presence of a Holy God! \"However, if that were actually true, they would have been on the floor on their faces! It is just as the prophet Isaiah said: \"Oh, God, I have spoken about You, but now I have seen You. Now I have seen Your holiness; now I recognize that we are all unclean. All our righteousness is like filthy rags before You. Touch my lips with Your mercy, and let my message be about You, Your mercy and Your redemption\" (see Isaiah 6:5, 64:6).<\/p>\n

\"Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God<\/em>\" (2 Timothy 3:4). Lovers of pleasure! The constitution of this country states that everyone has the undeniable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are wonderful words, yet that is in the constitution of a secular nation. Unfortunately, this idea has been adopted by the Church as well. Much of the house of God is now all about my<\/em> life; my<\/em> liberty; my<\/em> pursuit of my<\/em> happiness. \"Let the rest of the world perish–as long as I am happy and have money in the bank!\"<\/p>\nRESISTING THE TRUE WORK OF GOD<\/span>\n

Paul continued: \"And from such people turn away!<\/em>\" (2 Timothy 3:5). Let me put it this way: Turn away from being that kind of a person! Turn away from being somebody who simply seeks a form of godliness with no power in it–no compassion, no willingness to obey God, no desire to live righteously.<\/p>\n

\"Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth<\/em>\" (2 Timothy 3:7). Always learning, yet unwilling to be led by truth. It is those who say, \"Wait, Lord, do not call me just yet. I am still learning.\" It is like when Jesus instructed the people to be good to their neighbors, and a lawyer came up to Him with the ridiculous question, \"And who is my neighbor?\" (see Luke 10:29).<\/p>\n

In other words, \"I am studying it, and when I am finally able to figure out who my neighbor is, count me in!\" Studying can often be a smokescreen for not walking in obedience. You can be always learning, going to the newest seminar, listening to a new message, following a new ministry–but never being led to where truth always leads.<\/p>\nTHEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS<\/span>\n

You see, truth will always lead to a life that is surrendered to the purposes of God, a life filled with the power of God. That is how the early Church started, and regardless of how things may look now, I believe the Church will ultimately end up like that! I am believing for a spiritual awakening among God's people. I believe we will rediscover our identity in the last days, and we will once again live with the conviction that with God, all things are possible. We will understand that we have an incredible inheritance–that with our salvation comes the power of God's Holy Spirit. This promise is going to be rediscovered very soon!<\/p>\n

It began with a hundred and twenty people who simply knew that without God, nothing would happen. They gathered in an upper room and prayed, yielding themselves to God, and He filled them with His Spirit! Then they stepped out into the marketplace–willing to be mocked–for they cared more for the praise of God than the praise of man. They encountered thousands going into the temple to learn things about God. Perhaps they were discussing things such as the deliverance from Egypt or the Feast of Booths. They were learning all kinds of things about God, but suddenly on the way home, they met a hundred and twenty people who had met with God. There is a huge difference between the two!<\/p>\n

Similarly, in our nation, we have been learning about God for years. We have talked about the character of God, the mercy of God, the Father-heart of God. We are constantly learning things about Him, and these things are all true. However, we have done everything but meet with God! When you meet with God, you are transformed by His power.<\/p>\n

Remember, the hundred and twenty disciples were just ordinary people. They did not have diplomas on the wall, yet the Bible tells us that the Pharisees, who perceived they were ignorant and unlearned men, were astounded at the power and wisdom with which they spoke (see Acts 4:13). The only thing they could say about the disciples was that they had been with Jesus! They were not there giving an argument. Rather, there was an irrefutable argument manifesting itself through their lives–the power of God's Holy Spirit! Suddenly, three thousand people who had met about God now encountered a hundred and twenty who had met with God! And when they saw them, they said, \"What must we do to have this kind of life with<\/em> God?\" (see Acts 2:37).<\/p>\n

As we saw in our opening Scripture, Peter responded: \"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ<\/em>\" (Acts 2:38). In other words, \"Put off your old way of living. Put off all your attempts to be holy in your own strength. Put off the facade of being a Christian, and put on Christ. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is for you!\"<\/p>\n

According to the Scriptures, three thousand souls were added to the Church that day–three thousand religious people who had been doing the best they could to be godly in their own strength; three thousand who were perhaps tired of learning about God and His former power; three thousand who noticed that there were people who actually possessed the power of God!<\/p>\nREDISCOVERING THE PROMISE<\/span>\n

So what must you and I do in order to get this power of God today? After all, we will surely need it in order to confront the days ahead of us.<\/p>\n

First of all, we must return to the full purpose that God intended for our lives on this earth: To be living witnesses of who He is. That requires willingness and humility, for we will be mocked and ridiculed. Jesus warned us, \"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master...If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!<\/em>\"(Matthew 10:24–25). There is no escaping it! Do not expect this world to love you because you finally step into the public with the power of God in your life.<\/p>\n

Yet, regardless of what the world may think, there must be a resolve in your heart that says, \"I do not care what it will cost. I want this new life. I want strength to go with God. I will not settle for being lukewarm–for merely coming to church and learning about God. I want to meet with the Living God!\"<\/p>\n

It is a choice you and I must make. Remember, the promise of the Holy Spirit is to you, to your children, to the young, to the old, the educated, the uneducated, the strong, the weak, the servants. But the question is: Do you truly want it? Do you want the lifestyle that accompanies it? Are you willing to walk along the pathway where it will lead you?<\/p>\n

If you are willing, I encourage you to go before the Lord in humility and ask Him to fulfill His great promise to you. He will surely be faithful to His Word. And then as His Church, we will return to the power of God in these last days!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"A LAST DAY RETURN TO POWER,\" a sermon given on May 21, 2017 in the sanctuary\nof Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome\nto make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or\nelectronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without\npermission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"42":{"sm_title":"Old Men Shall Dream Dreams","sm_id":"285","sm_desc":"What are these dreams that old men will dream? The Holy Spirit will give you divine revelation and power to speak to the next generation. If our hearts are turned inward we will lose vision and power, but when our heart turns to the children of this generation God will pour out His Spirit upon us. Pastor Carter gives an illustrated sermon of his life's journey to encourage us to speak into the lives of our family and to influence another generation. ","sm_jpg":"47937_jb_20170319.jpg","sm_date":"2017-07","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/03\/19s1\/20170319s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/03\/19s1\/20170319s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"rsAOZlXVTsU","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48082_sermon-newsletter-201707-old-men-shall-dream-dreams.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams<\/em>\" (Acts 2:17). You and I are living in the last days, which means that these wonderful promises are for us. In fact, the last days actually began on the day of Pentecost. It was on that day that the apostle Peter confirmed the words spoken by the prophet Joel. The time had come when God would interact in a supernatural way through all who turned to Him.<\/p>\n

So what are some of the ways God will do this? Let's start by looking at the first part of the verse: \"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.<\/em>\" The word \"prophesy\" in the original text means to declare truths through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.<\/p>\n

I have personally experienced this. For example, I remember as a young man being sent to Police College. The curriculum included a public speaking course and I was the only novice in a classroom full of seasoned public speakers. But each time I had to speak, I prayed, and God's Holy Spirit came on me as I spoke on Bible topics. It was amazing!<\/p>\n

The last assignment was a thirty minute presentation which would determine whether you passed or failed the course. Before it was due, I was called in and told, \"Carter, you are a nice guy; we really like you. But this is not an evangelistic association; it is a Police College. You cannot pass your final exam unless you speak on a police topic.\"<\/p>\n

I was terrified! I knew it was only the anointing of God's Spirit that enabled me to speak thus far. But would God anoint me to talk about the preservation of a crime scene?<\/p>\n

The next day when it was my turn to speak, I got up and said, \"Today I am going to speak about a police topic: the Bible. When we get up to testify in a court of law, we are asked to put our hand on a Book and say, 'I swear, based on what is in this Book, that what I am about to say is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.' Don't you think it is important to know what we are swearing to?\"<\/p>\n

Everybody agreed, \"Yeah, I guess so.\" So I started in Genesis and went through to Revelation. Thirty minutes on the dial, I said, \"He is coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords!\"<\/p>\n

At the end of the meeting, they were supposed to evaluate me based on eye contact, voice intonations, hand gestures—but nobody did any of that. Everybody looked at me and, one after another, said, \"I have never heard anything like that in my whole life!\" One guy commented, \"Boy, have you ever given me something to think about!\" Another said, \"Wow, this is what I am swearing to when I put my hand on the Bible?\"<\/p>\n

I went in there filled with fear, yet by the end, the instructors even asked if I would be interested in coming back to teach the course! That is what God can do! He enables us to declare His truth in a divine way through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.<\/p>\nYOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS<\/span>\n

The verse goes on to say, \"Your young men shall see visions.<\/em>\" The word \"visions\" means inspired appearances. I have seen visions, which tend to come to me like snapshots—often when I least expect them. One occurred during service as I was worshiping. Pastor David Wilkerson was beside me, and suddenly God gave me a picture of him going all over the world, standing before other pastors who had fallen onto the ground in despair. He was holding a censer, which indicates worship and prayer, and as he stood before them, they started to rise up. They began to give God glory again as hope and courage returned to their hearts.<\/p>\n

I leaned over to Pastor David and said, \"The Lord has just shown me that He is going to send you all over the world to speak to pastors.\" Pastor David leaned back and said, \"Well, He hasn't spoken that to me yet.\"And I said, \"Well, I can only tell you what He has shown me.\"<\/p>\n

A year later, Pastor David launched out on what became a fifty-six-nation tour, speaking to tens of thousands of pastors. In one particular meeting, there were from eight to ten thousand people gathered, and everyone in the whole stadium went down onto their faces—even the maintenance people in the back—as the presence of God came so powerfully! When they rose to their feet, they were encouraged. They were worshiping again, exactly as God had shown me.<\/p>\nTHE GRANDFATHER SIDE<\/span>\n

I have given prophecies, I have seen visions, and now the Lord has reserved the best for last: This old man is beginning to dream dreams! That is the third promise. And while I can honestly say that I have had more in my life than my heart could wish for, now that I am \"Papa\" to eight wonderful grandchildren, I get to experience a side of God that I have never known before.<\/p>\n

We see this side of God in the book of Genesis. \"Out of the ground, the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name<\/em>\" (Genesis 2:19). This is the grandfather side of God! God created this man Adam out of the dust and then He created all the animals and brought them to him.<\/p>\n

A father would say, \"Adam, this is a giraffe, now remember that.\"But a grandfather would say, \"Adam, what do you think we should call this?\" And the Scripture says that whatever Adam called every living creature, that is what they are today!<\/p>\n

I have the privilege of experiencing this wonderful side of God. You see, Mom and Dad represent the law. \"Get up in the morning. Brush your teeth. Where are your books? Put on your good shoes. Eat your supper!\"That's Mom and Dad!<\/p>\n

I have been there; I understand the necessity. It is the legal side of God that says, \"Touch not, taste not, handle not\" (see Colossians 2:21). \"Be careful crossing the road. Don't do this; don't say that.\"It is the legal side, and moms and dads have to go through that.<\/p>\n

But Papa and Grammy get to represent grace—the other side of God! I have a closet in a home we go to in the summertime that I have turned into \"Papa's Store.\" It is filled with candy from top to bottom—Oh Henry! bars, gummy worms, Jujubes, Swedish Fish! At the end of each day, if everybody has behaved, they get to go to Papa's Store and have a handful of whatever they want.<\/p>\n

Mom and Dad say, \"Eat your brussel sprouts!\" But Papa and Grammy get to say, \"Ice cream? How much do you want? How about a double scoop cone?\"<\/p>\n

Just the other night, our grandchildren were jumping on the bed. Now we would never let our kids do that. \"You are going to wreck the mattress! You are going to fall and get hurt!\"But now we say, \"See if you can go higher! If something breaks, it's no big deal!\"<\/p>\n

You see, I believe that is the way God intended to reveal His character: through the family. And maybe you do not have family, but remember, you are in another family now—the Body of Christ. You get to be Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa here in the Body of Christ!<\/p>\nDIVINE REVELATIONS<\/span>\n

So, what exactly are these dreams that old men dream? Why are they considered supernatural? The commentator Matthew Henry says these dreams are divine revelations. In other words, as Jesus said of the Holy Spirit: \"He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you<\/em>\" (John 16:13-14)<\/p>\n

Divine revelations are when God speaks to your heart about the future of not only your children, but of your grandchildren. He will tell you things that He is about to do in and through your family—especially regarding the little ones He has put in your care. These are whispers of God! For example, the Lord promised me years ago that my family will be known for missions long after I am gone. I do not know in what capacity, and I thank God I do not have to make it happen. As the Lord reminded me, \"Carter, if you have to make it happen, it is no longer a promise. This is a promise: Your family will be known for missions.\"<\/p>\n

Your old men shall be given these divine revelations! We have more power as grandparents than you and I realize. God gives us the power to speak into the lives of the next generation. He gives us the power to tell them what God is going to do; the plans that He has—especially if we take the time to pray.<\/p>\n

It says it this way in the book of Malachi: \"I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord [which we read about in Acts chapter two], and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse<\/em>\" (Malachi 4:6).<\/p>\n

In other words, your words have the power to break any curse of sin this world would like to use to captivate your family or those over whom you have influence. I believe that is why the devil has tried to sow selfishness into the Body of Christ, knowing that if our hearts are turned only to ourselves, we lose that power and vision God was willing to give us for the future. However, when our hearts are turned to the children—when we do not see them as just something to be babysat but rather regard them as tomorrow's Church and the future of this nation—we have the power to break the curse of sin on the earth.<\/p>\n

What a phenomenal thought! There is incredible power in your speech when you walk with God and your heart is not all about yourself. You are not thinking only about your retirement and your own comfort. Rather, your heart is toward your children and your grandchildren; toward other children whom God has put under your influence. As you are thinking about them, praying for them, living for them, suddenly the divine begins to flow through your life. Those are the dreams the old men begin to dream!<\/p>\n

You do not have to make them up; God will simply begin to speak to and through you. And it does not have to be outlandish. It might simply be, \"You will be very courageous. You will have a heart for people. Just let God do what He wants to do in your life.\"<\/p>\n

I am entering that stage of my life now, and it is the best. I have preached to five hundred thousand people. I have been in the homes of two presidents; I have traveled. It has been amazing, but nothing beats this! This is what makes growing old the most joyful thing. I see things in my grandchildren—good things. God gives me the ability to speak these things into their lives.<\/p>\nTHE POWER OF A WORD<\/span>\n

Growing old in the world is fearful—it is all about aches and pains, and your kids are just trying to decide how to look after you. But in the Body of Christ, power is given to old age! It is a power beyond prophesying and seeing visions, as those things are generally about larger events. But at the end of life, it is about the people whom you love. It is about the ones closest to you—those whom God has put under your care. It is about nephews and nieces, grandchildren, or that mother and her three kids across the hall.<\/p>\n

That is what it is all about! When you get old in the Body of Christ, you do not have to curl up and die. You start living! And so our cry must be, \"Oh, God, turn our hearts to the children of this generation! No matter how far away they might seem, show us their future. Give us the courage to speak into their lives and leave a lasting impact.\"<\/p>\n

It is amazing when you realize that you have the power of speech to make a difference in somebody's life. I remember as a young Christian in my early twenties, I went through a season when I felt like a failure. I had so many struggles in my life, and I ended up under this cloud of despair for a couple of months, feeling that I would never change.<\/p>\n

One day I was out with an older police officer named Doug who happened to be a Christian. \"What's wrong with you?\"he asked.<\/p>\n

\"I'm just so discouraged,\" I explained. \"I feel like a failure. I want to be different, but it's just hopeless.\"<\/p>\n

He looked at me and said, \"That is just the devil trying to condemn you. But there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk after the Spirit, not after the flesh. I know you want God, so let's just put that thing away.\"<\/p>\n

To this day, I still remember those words that he spoke over my life! They were not especially profound; he did not open a text in the Bible. It was simply an older man speaking into a younger man's life, and it enabled me to get up again.<\/p>\n

That is the power God is giving you now! It is the power to speak to your family; to make a difference in a generation of young people. He is giving you the power to live for the benefit of others, beginning in your own home. Whether or not your children are still at home or your grandchildren are close by, you still have that power. You can make a phone call. You can write a card if your children are not speaking to you.<\/p>\n

Perhaps in the past, your words were not what they should have been. But this can be a new day. Despite our flaws and frailties, God remains faithful and will empower us to speak to the next generation.<\/p>\n

Remember, all children in the Body of Christ belong to us, not just our own physical lineage. There are also many out in the streets who belong to God and just do not know it yet. But He will give us the power to get up and go get them. So let's take this promise given to the prophet Joel—this mark of the supernatural that \"your old men shall dream dreams<\/em>\" (Acts 2:17). We simply have to choose to dream these dreams to their fullest; to take the deep deposit the Lord has sown into each of our lives and speak a word in season to a troubled heart.<\/p>\n

Let's display God's power and make Him known to this next generation!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS,\" a sermon given on March 19, 2017 in the sanctuary\nof Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome\nto make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or\nelectronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without\npermission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"43":{"sm_title":"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread","sm_id":"282","sm_desc":"This message comes with a warning. The world as we know it is going to plunge into an unspeakable darkness. Israel will soon be encompassed by enemy armies. Jesus warned us in the last days that many false prophets are going to arise and many people will be deceived because they are not in the Word of God. There is power in the Word of God to bring life, strength and direction. The promises of God are there for you to establish your thoughts so you can get through your day. We can't live on yesterday's bread, that's why Jesus told us to pray, \"Father give us this day our daily bread.\" Let's get into the Word of God and allow the Word of God to get into us.","sm_jpg":"47929_jb_20170312.jpg","sm_date":"2017-06","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/03\/12s1\/20170312s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/03\/12s1\/20170312s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"HPhUH6o7p40","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/48027_sermon-newsletter-201706-give-us-this-day-our-daily-bread.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

This message comes with a warning: We are living in the last days and the world as we know it is going to plunge into unspeakable darkness. Biblical prophecy is unfolding before us daily, and soon we will see Jerusalem encompassed by armies. Jesus warned that in the last days, many false prophets are going to arise and many Christians are going to be deceived (see Matthew 24:11). Let me tell you why they are going to be deceived: Quite simply, because they are not in the Word of God! They are following books, fads, and fancy speakers—but they are not opening the text of the Bible.<\/p>\n

Remember, the Bible is a living Word. \"The entrance of Your words gives light<\/em>\" (Psalm 119:130). \"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth<\/em>\" (John 1:1, 3, 14). \"He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God<\/em>\"(John 1:11–12).<\/p>\n

The Word of God is alive with the power to create and recreate the human heart. It has the power to give sight, freedom, hope and strength. And perhaps most importantly of all in this generation, the Word provides direction. There will be a myriad of confusing voices sent by hell itself to divert the people of God and ensnare the lazy, yet God promises that His Word will be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105).<\/p>\nTHE BREAD OF LIFE<\/span>\n

Jesus Himself highlighted the importance of the Word when He gave us a specific manner in which to pray: \"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread<\/em>\"(Matthew 6:9–11). Notice that He described it as \"our daily bread.\"There is a daily provision which Jesus promises to give us.<\/p>\n

Jesus said it this way in the book of John: \"I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world<\/em>\" (John 6:48–51). Jesus was essentially saying, \"I am the bread! I am your strength, your vision, your redemption, your freedom. I am your protector and your guide. Everything that you need for life and godliness can be found in Me.\"<\/p>\n

Therefore, biblically speaking, I suppose one could say that you are what you eat! If you choose to go on a diet from the Bible, you are going to become weak, and eventually you will end up very confused. Incorrect thoughts will begin to guide you. Then, in your desperation, you will start turning on the television and listening to voices that are not speaking truth. They will stand before you and essentially say, \"Look at me! This is what the Christian life looks like. Come, follow me!\" And because you are not reading the Word of God—you are not eating this Living Bread—you will end up being deceived at the end of your days.<\/p>\n

Now everybody who was listening to Jesus should have understood when He referred to their fathers eating manna in the wilderness, for they were aware of their own history. Let's take a moment to go back to the Old Testament so that we, too, can understand Jesus' claim to be the \"Bread of Life\"in the context of their past.<\/p>\nMANNA FROM HEAVEN<\/span>\n

In the book of Exodus, we see specific principles about this \"living bread\" when it came in the form of manna. \"And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?'For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, 'This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat'<\/em>\"(Exodus 16:14–15).<\/p>\n

The people of God knew that miraculous bread had been given to them. It appeared on the ground every morning, and everyone would pick up some and take it home. This bread had a supernatural capability to it: All the nutrients that the human body required were found in this little wafer that, according to the Scriptures, tasted like it was \"made with honey\" (see Exodus 16:31).<\/p>\n

The passage continues: \"This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: 'Let every man gather it according to each one's need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent'<\/em>\" (Exodus 16:16). I believe this serves as an exhortation to us today. Fathers, you must gather some bread from the Bible for your tent, and you must do it every day! You must read the Word when you get up in the morning because it will set a tone in your house. Remember, you are the covering for your wife and your children. Mothers, you must get up and get into the Word of God, too. It is true that \"the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.\" Everyone has a part in this; everyone has to get up in the morning and gather from the Word of God according to his or her household.<\/p>\nNEITHER EXCESS NOR LACK<\/span>\n

I love what the Scriptures say happened next: \"Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one's need<\/em>\" (Exodus 16:17–18).<\/p>\n

What an incredible thought! You see, there are some people, like me, who have time to get up in the morning and spend a few hours reading the Bible. However, I am aware that is not the case for everybody. Some must get up in the morning and make lunch for four kids and then get them to school. Others have to get to work early. If they are fortunate, they might be able to scrape out ten or fifteen minutes in the morning to open their Bible.<\/p>\n

But as we see in this passage, the beauty of the Word of God is that the one who gathered much did not have anything left over, and the one who gathered little had no lack. That means that you may not be able to read a whole basketful of Scripture in the morning, but God knows what circumstances you are going to face that day and He is able to bring you right back to a verse that you read earlier. He is able to take the little bit that you gathered and multiply it to meet your needs throughout the day!<\/p>\n

And so we are reminded of how imperative it is to establish our thoughts in the Word of God every day. Do not let the news media get your thoughts first thing in the morning, for that is what you will end up talking about for the rest of the day. Begin your day in the Bible and say, \"Lord, give me a thought for the day,\" and you will see how miraculous His Word is! You will encounter a situation during the course of the day, and that verse of Scripture you have been thinking about will be your strength. It will be your power to respond; it will be your guard and your guide. And at the end of the day, it will be your rejoicing because God has kept you!<\/p>\nTHE WORD NEGLECTED<\/span>\n

\"And Moses said, 'Let no one leave any of it till morning.'Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank<\/em>\" (Exodus 16:19–20). Here we learn yet another lesson through their experience with the manna: God's promises are there to enable you to face your day, but if you do not consume them, by the end of the day, what you should have had stinks!<\/p>\n

You should have had a word for the situation you found yourself in; you should have had strength to get through. But you said, \"Ah, well, I'll read the Bible when I get home.\" And so you left the promises of God that could have established your day. As a result, you ran into circumstances for which you did not have adequate resources. Instead of responding with God's kindness, you gave back word for word, insult for insult, lie for lie, anger for anger. By the time you get home, you realize that your day stinks.<\/p>\n

The passage continues: \"So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted<\/em>\"(Exodus 16:21). You cannot live on yesterday's bread! You need your daily bread because the sun gets hot. You will face trials—perhaps ridicule, criticism, disappointment. All you have to do is go to work and say, \"I am a conservative\" and watch how hot it gets! And when the sun gets hot, yesterday's bread is not going to keep you! We need a daily thought from God.<\/p>\nTHE LORD'S PRAYER<\/span>\n

After Jesus says, \"Give us this day our daily bread,<\/em>\" in verse 11, He continues the prayer by saying, \"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever<\/em>\" (Matthew 6:12–13). In light of what we have been considering, here is my paraphrase of these verses of Scripture:<\/p>\n

\"And forgive us our debts.<\/em>\" \"Forgive me for being lazy and not spending time reading and studying the Word. As Paul said to Timothy, I want to be a workman who is not ashamed (see 2 Timothy 2:15). In other words, not triumphed over in my day. Forgive me for each time I did not seek my daily bread, and as a result, ended up with insufficient strength to represent You as I ought to. Forgive me for finding myself without the strength to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit—for the times when You told me to speak and I didn't; when You called me to stand and I wouldn't; when You told me to love and I couldn't.\"<\/p>\n

\"And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.<\/em>\"\"However, do not let me be so discouraged by my failure that I start to agree with the devil's condemnation of me.\"<\/p>\n

\"For Yours is the kingdom.<\/em>\" \"Yours is the only kingdom that will last. One day, all of men's opinions, boastings, and curses will be gone! Your words are the only words that are eternal.\"<\/p>\n

\"And the power.<\/em>\" \"Your Word has the power to cancel the authority of death and give me abundant and everlasting life. Your Word has power to recreate me and to take me where You want me to go.\"<\/p>\n

\"And the glory.<\/em>\" \"The glory of the heart that knows You and knows Your Word; the glory of knowing that the Word abides in us; the glory of having a transformed mind—that glory that belongs to God alone!\"<\/p>\nWHERE TO BEGIN<\/span>\n

Perhaps you find it difficult to get into the Word daily. However, God can give you grace. It all begins with a simple prayer: \"Lord, will You help me to read the Bible? Would you establish my thoughts in Your ways? Would you take me farther than I have ever gone before?\"<\/p>\n

I suggest that you start by reading Matthew to Revelation, the Psalms, and Proverbs. Read them until they become a part of you. And read a translation that you can understand. If you find it difficult to understand the King James Version, then get yourself another Bible. There are some great modern translations out there that are easy to understand. You can even buy Bibles that have four or five translations across the page so you can get the full sense of a verse of Scripture.<\/p>\n

And don't forget, you not only have to read your Bible, but you have to believe what you read! So let it be quality time that you spend with God, even if it is only fifteen minutes you can get in the morning. Go before the Lord with your open Bible and say, \"Father, speak to me today. Speak to my mind; speak to my heart. Guide me and guard me. Let me see throughout the day how your Word will keep me.\" And then watch what God will begin to do! He will open His Word to you. He will begin to lead you to places you never thought you could go, empowering you with a strength that you know is not your own. Suddenly you will find yourself with a greater thirst to get in the Word of God. You will realize that God spoke to you in advance about what you were about to face. And day after day, you will see that His Word is truly alive!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD,\" a sermon given on March 12, 2017 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"44":{"sm_title":"\"Yes Lord\" Is a Prayer","sm_id":"280","sm_desc":"We are living in a moment of history where we must understand the largeness of God's heart. When we pray, what would it be like if we stopped asking God to do something, and simply agreed with Him for what He has already determined to do? As we learn to obey the Lords promptings, we will spend more time in prayer saying \"Yes Lord\" than asking Him to do something. The future of this nation will always be connected with the prayers of God's people. God is initiating a moment in history where He desires to be merciful, when we begin to pray \"Yes Lord\" and become fully engaged with the work of God, those around us will bow their heads and begin to worship Him.","sm_jpg":"47843_jb_20160115.jpg","sm_date":"2017-05","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/01\/15s1\/20170115s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/01\/15s1\/20170115s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"mG5m93Hzi4k","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47989_sermon-newsletter-201705-yes-lord-is-a-prayer.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

As Christians, we tend to spend a lot of time praying, \"Please, Lord, do this\" or \"Please, Lord, do that.\" We are constantly asking God to initiate something. \"Please bring my son or daughter home. Please give me a better job.\"<\/p>

Now those are good and valid prayers. However, there are times when God chooses to initiate something on His own, and all He is looking for is someone who will agree with Him—someone who will not only pray, \"Please, Lord\" but \"Yes, Lord!\"<\/p>\n

For example, through the prophet Ezekiel, God said, \"I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one<\/em>\" (Ezekiel 22:30). This was a time when God had already initiated mercy, and He was just looking for somebody to agree with Him.<\/p>\n

Unfortunately, when society reaches a condition much like ours today, it is a lot easier to come up with reasons as to why judgment should come. However, what if God is willing to be merciful, and He is simply seeking for some among His people who will say, \"Yes, Lord?\"<\/p>\nABRAHAM'S SERVANT<\/span>\n

We see the impact of this \"Yes, Lord\" prayer in the book of Genesis when Abraham sent one of his servants to find a bride for his son Isaac. In fact, this turned out to be an interaction that changed the course of history! Rebekah, the bride he found, eventually bore Isaac two sons: Jacob and Esau. Jacob became the father of the nation of Israel, and through that nation came our Messiah!<\/p>\n

Now before we get to the \"Yes, Lord\" part of the story, there are certain characteristics of this servant of Abraham that are noteworthy. First of all, the Bible tells us that \"the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter<\/em>\" (Genesis 24:9). In other words, he was a man of his word; a person of truth. The truth of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105). If you and I are people of truth, God can begin to lead us on a pathway that will bring great glory to His name.<\/p>\n

The passage continues, \"The servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, for all his master's goods were in his hand<\/em>\" (Genesis 24:10). If you are a person of truth who wants to find a bride for the Master's Son, God will put everything you need into your hand. He will give you wisdom, kindness, joy, peace, faith, and vision. God will always abundantly supply whatever is required for the work He has called you to do.<\/p>\n

\"And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. Then he said, 'O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham'<\/em>\" (Genesis 24:11-12). Notice how he asked that God would show kindness to his master. And so we have a picture of the kind of person God will use: the man or woman who is not looking for his or her own glory. Their prayers are not for their own sake but rather for the glory of God and the sake of others.<\/p>\n

\"Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, 'Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,'and she says, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink'—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac<\/em>\" (Genesis 24:13-14). We see that this servant was given boldness to pray a specific prayer. When you value the commission of God, suddenly you will find yourself praying prayers that go beyond generic. The amazing thing is that in this case, before the servant had finished speaking, the answer came (see Genesis 24:15).<\/p>\nOBEDIENT TO THE PROMPTINGS<\/span>\n

While the servant's prayer on his side was, \"Please, Lord,\" on the other side was a young girl named Rebekah. Perhaps she was sitting at home when suddenly the thought to go to the well dropped into her heart.<\/p>\n

Imagine if Rebekah had said, \"No, let my sister go. I went yesterday. I have a headache and I don't feel like going all the way to the well.\" How different history would have been! Fortunately, she was a young girl who obeyed the promptings of the Lord.<\/p>\n

If only we, too, would learn to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit! There might be somebody across the hall in your apartment building today who is praying, \"Please, God, show me if You are real.\" And all God is looking for from you is, \"Yes, Lord\" as He moves on your heart to go visit them.<\/p>\n

This reminds me of a time years ago when the Lord impressed upon my heart to start a Bible study in a little country church. Now, you had to be lost in order to drive by this church, for there was no way you could be going anywhere to pass by it. This small town called Pendleton was in an area of Canada with no Christian testimony for about forty square miles that we were aware of.<\/p>\n

I went to the board of the church and told them who I was and the reason I wanted to rent their church. They ended up allowing us to use the church free of charge, and they even provided a caretaker to turn on the heat and shovel the snow in the winter.<\/p>\n

I immediately put together flyers advertising the Bible study and sent them out. The very first night, there was a snowstorm and nobody came! I ended up at the church with my six-year old son, Jason, and my brother-in-law, who was the worship leader. My brother-in-law asked, \"Should we just go home?\"<\/p>\n

\"No,\" I replied. \"The Lord has called me to do this, so we are going to have a service tonight!\"And we did. We worshiped God, my son shared his testimony, and we all had a great time!<\/p>\n

I continued to hold the Bible study week after week. Sometimes there were six people, sometimes only four. But eventually, over the course of a couple of years, the Bible study grew into a church. One church grew into two, plus a Christian school and a food bank—a testimony that still exists today!<\/p>\n

What would have happened if I had just gone home on that first night of the Bible study? I could have said, \"This is pointless— conducting a Bible study in the middle of nowhere with so few people is not worth the effort.\"<\/p>\n

How sad it will be for some people when they arrive at the throne of God and realize that the Lord's promptings were there to do something that would have brought honor to His name, yet they did not obey. Perhaps they could not believe God would use them or that it actually was His prompting. And so they stayed on the \"Please, Lord\"side of prayer and never moved on to \"Yes, Lord.\"<\/p>\nBEYOND THE MINIMUM<\/span>\n

Returning to our passage, the Bible tells us that Rebekah was \"very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, 'Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.'So she said, 'Drink, my lord.' Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink<\/em>\"(Genesis 24:16-18).<\/p>\n

After she had finished giving the servant a drink, Rebekah offered, \"'I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.' Then she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels<\/em>\" (Genesis 24:19-20).<\/p>\n

Now I did some research and learned that a thirsty camel can drink between twenty-five and forty-five gallons in one sitting. Let's be generous and say it was only a thirty-gallon day for each camel. Remember, Abraham's servant had ten camels, so that would amount to three hundred gallons of water! Note that many of the wells in the ancient Near East were essentially big square holes in the ground with some steps going down to the water. Assuming that Rebekah had a five-gallon pail, which would be about as much as a teenage girl could carry, that meant sixty trips down to the well for her!<\/p>\n

Obviously, this was a young girl who did not want to do just the minimum. Sadly, many people never fully realize the potential that God has for them in His kingdom because they always settle for the minimum—the least amount of time spent in Bible study, church attendance, and prayer—just enough to make it across the finish line. And then they are left wondering why they are always dissatisfied, having an empty sense in their heart that they are destined for more.<\/p>\nKNOWING THE FATHER'S HEART<\/span>

When the camels had finished drinking, Abraham's servant asked, \"Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please, is there room in your father's house for us to lodge?<\/em>\"(Genesis 24:23).<\/p>\n

I love Rebekah's response: \"'I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah's son, whom she bore to Nahor.'Moreover she said to him, 'We have both straw and feed enough, and room to lodge'<\/em>\" (Genesis 24:24-25). Her father had sent her to get five gallons of water, yet she was coming home with ten camels and several servants! You see, Rebekah knew there was room in her father's house and she was confident that he would never disappoint her. She was so generous and went far beyond what was required because she knew the largeness of her father's heart.<\/p>\n

And so I ask you today: Do you know the largeness of your Father's heart? Do you know His willingness to show mercy? Do you fully understand the longing in the heart of God to see this nation turn back to Him?<\/p>\n

The Bible goes on to tell us that Abraham's servant then \"bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord<\/em>\" (Genesis 24:26). Incredible! In the same way, I believe that many people today would bow and worship God if you and I would learn to say, \"Yes Lord!\"—if we were willing to show kindness beyond what is convenient; if we were willing to pray specific prayers; if we were willing to walk in obedience.<\/p>\n

When our society finally sees the Church fully engaged with the true work of God—reaching out to the lost, going the extra mile, showing kindness to those who do not necessarily deserve it—suddenly people will bow their heads and begin to worship.<\/p>\nTHE \"YES, LORD\" SIDE<\/span>\n

I am convinced that God is initiating something truly significant in this hour; He has decreed a moment of mercy for America. No matter how set against Christ people's hearts have been in the past, God is now presenting an open window. And so I do not want to spend all my prayer life on the \"Please, Lord\" side. I want to live on the \"Yes, Lord\" side and find out what my part is! \"Yes, Lord, what do You want me to do? Yes, Lord, how do You want me to do it? Yes, Lord, what do You want me to say? Yes, Lord, where do You want me to go?\" \"Yes, Lord\" must be our prayer today!<\/p>\n

When God spoke to Rebekah, she had to move from where she was and go to where God was calling her in order for the miracle to happen. Similarly, God is speaking to people today, telling them to get up and out of certain things. So rather than constantly saying, \"Please, Lord, give me the grace to get out of this relationship. Give me the grace to cease this practice,\" it is time to start saying, \"Yes, Lord, You have called me to something deeper. You have called me to make a difference in my society. You have called me to be a person who can boast of You to the point where others cannot help but bow their heads and worship. So I am no longer going to say, 'Please, Lord'while merely sitting in unbelief. I am going to agree with You, get out of where I should not be, and go to where You are calling me!\"<\/p>\n

Perhaps you already know what God is asking you to do. If He has already spoken to your heart, begin with those things. If the Lord is asking you to forgive, then forgive. If He is asking you to speak truth, then do so. If He is asking you to go beyond what is convenient in your service to Him, then do not hesitate to go the extra mile. Until you obey what He has already told you to do, the other leadings of the Lord will remain hidden.<\/p>\n

Remember, all that God has ever asked of His people is that we walk with Him in agreement. Of course, we will not always know exactly where our \"yes\" to God will lead us. However, we do know that it will lead to the miraculous. It will usher us into places of impossibilities where God is able to display His power— places where we, as well as those around us, will begin to truly understand the largeness of our Father's heart!<\/p>\n

This newsletter is an edited version of \"\"YES, LORD\" IS A PRAYER,\" a sermon given on January 15, 2017 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.<\/p>"},"45":{"sm_title":"The Responsibilty of Little Strength","sm_id":"278","sm_desc":"As believers in Jesus Christ we should be concerned for the spiritual future of this nation and for the souls of those who are lost. We just recognize that the testimony of Jesus Christ has little strength and consider that the beginning of a spiritual awakening is when we in humility admit our condition. In this moment of time we are given a choice, Jesus has set before us an open door. Do we stay in our smallness or do we get up in faith and walk through the open door into the victory of the Cross? As God's people we have a responsibility to get up and believe God for the power to find the full purpose that He has for our life.","sm_jpg":"47756_jb_20161113.jpg","sm_date":"2017-04","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/11\/13s1\/20161113s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/11\/13s1\/20161113s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"Ykj6R3ozK_4","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47951_sermon-newsletter-201704-the-responsibilty-of-little-strength.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength'<\/em>\" (Revelation 3:7–8).<\/p>\n

I believe that just like this church in Philadelphia, the Church in America today has only \"a little strength.\" We are not nearly as strong or powerful as many of us would like to believe. Our voices have been largely marginalized and we have been cast out as \"salt to be trodden underfoot,\" as godlessness seemingly has the upper hand (see Matthew 5:13). However, I believe that the beginning of a spiritual awakening comes from having the humility to finally admit our true condition rather than boasting of what we are not.<\/p>\n

Furthermore, we can be encouraged because Jesus says in this passage, \"I have set before you an open door that no one can close\" (see Revelation 3:8). In other words, \"I am inviting you into a place where the impossible becomes possible. It is a place where you will win a battle that you could never win in your own strength.\"<\/p>\n

It is critical that we hear this today, for we are in the midst of an intense battle—a battle for the souls of the people of this nation and a battle for the future of a society. Just to clarify, this battle is not between Republican and Democrat or Libertarian. Yes, they have the ability, in measure, to give or take away hope for the future. However, there is a much deeper battle going on, a battle that, according to the Scriptures, is not against flesh and blood but against powers, principalities, and spiritual wickedness in high places (see Ephesians 6:12). We must be aware that there are demonic powers specifically set against this nation to destroy and divide it. As believers in Jesus Christ, this ought to be our concern now, for we have been given a great responsibility in this hour. After all, what is the point of having everything go our way while most of our nation ends up in hell?<\/p>\n

Jesus went on to say to the church in Philadelphia: \"Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown<\/em>\" (Revelation 3:11). I believe the Lord is saying to us today, \"Do not despair because of this moment. Do not despair because of the darkness that has invaded our schools and seems to be in every facet of our society. Do not despair because evil is on parade, calling itself good. Hold fast to the truth that I have planted within your heart.\"<\/p>\n

\"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more<\/em>\" (Revelation 3:12). Perhaps you are thinking: What if I can barely survive as a Christian now? I cannot even lift my voice in the workplace because I am so afraid of being vilified or mocked. I am a coward, and I know it. Yet now God is asking something else of me? What is it that I have to overcome?<\/p>\nHOW GOD PREPARED MOSES<\/span>\n

First of all, you have to overcome your own sense of inadequacy! You must understand that whenever God intends to move powerfully, He intentionally waits until we have only a little strength left. Let me give you an example from the Old Testament.<\/p>\n

When the Israelites, God's own people, had been taken captive by a foreign power, He called a man named Moses to bring deliverance to them. However, upon witnessing the burden of his people, Moses initially set out to make a difference with his own strategies, only to end up defeated. Rather than bringing three million people into freedom, he managed to bury one Egyptian (see Exodus 2:11–12). That was all he could accomplish in his own strength.<\/p>\n

Moses was then driven into the wilderness for forty years, where he became keenly aware of his inadequacy. Once a powerful orator in Pharaoh's court, he lost his ability to speak well (see Acts 7:22, Exodus 4:10). By the time God called Moses to return to Egypt, he was fearful, stuttering, and no longer had anything but a staff in his hand. In other words, God called him at his lowest moment—when he had only a little strength left. That is when the Lord gave him a great responsibility, essentially saying to him, \"Now you are ready. I have heard the cry of My people, and I am sending you to bring them out of bondage, that My glory might be reestablished in the earth\" (see Exodus 3:9–10).<\/p>\nFULLY SET APART<\/span>\n

Despite his initial reservations, Moses obeyed the Lord. Taking his family with him, he headed back to Egypt in the little strength he had left. However, along the way, \"it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him<\/em>\" (Exodus 4:24). There was something in Moses' life that had the potential to cause failure on this mission—to the degree that, if undealt with, it would have been better that he die rather than progress on this journey!<\/p>\n

What could be so serious? After all, Moses obeyed God in his weakness. He chose to go through the open door that the Lord set before him, so what was it that caused God to consider taking him out along this journey?<\/p>\n

We see what the issue was in the next verse as his wife \"took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses' feet, and said, 'Surely you are a husband of blood to me!' So He let him go. Then she said, 'You are a husband of blood!'—because of the circumcision<\/em>\" (Exodus 4:25–26). Moses' son had not been circumcised! Most commentaries agree that bringing an uncircumcised son on this journey to set a nation free represented the fact that Moses had not yet become fully identified with the people of God, nor was he fully engaged in the calling of God on his life. Although it was within his power to do so, his own son had not been set apart. Moses was bringing something of himself and his lineage into this battle.<\/p>\n

We see this issue arise again when Moses' successor, Joshua, was leading the people of God into the Promised Land to claim their full inheritance and become the testimony that God was calling them to be in the earth (see Joshua 5). A whole generation that was raised up in the wilderness had not been circumcised! In other words, they had not fully identified themselves as the people of God. Before they could enter the Promised Land—before Jericho could fall, before the Amalekites and all the other enemies could be defeated, before the full inheritance that God had for His people could be claimed—there had to be a reckoning with God. All those born in the wilderness had to be circumcised, wholly set apart for the Lord and His purposes.<\/p>\n

And so my question to you today is: Do you fully identify with the people of God? Do you fully identify yourself as part of a Body that Christ has placed on the earth for a divine purpose? Are you part of something bigger than yourself? In the book of First Corinthians, we see that the apostle Paul admonished the church because selfishness had crept into their fellowship. The people were gathering together to worship, but they were actually self-consumed, unconcerned about those around them. They never bothered to consider: Does my neighbor have enough to eat? Are they encouraged? Paul said that \"many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep because you have failed to discern the Lord's body\" (see 1 Corinthians 11:30). They did not understand what it truly means to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ.<\/p>\n

And my second question to you is: Have you fully embraced God's purpose for your life? Before you are tempted to give an immediate \"yes,\" remember that in order to fully embrace God's purpose for your life, there cannot be any uncircumcised thing that you are trying to bring with you into the work of God. In other words, is there anything in your life that the Lord has His finger on—anything that you know you need to put away?<\/p>\n

For example, are you a purveyor of hate in this society? Are you fostering division? Is your speech clean? Are you a loyal employee? Are you stealing in the workplace? Do you pay your taxes? Are your relationships holy? What do you do on Friday nights? Just as the Lord stopped Moses on his journey, as well as the Israelites, you and I must stop and deal with these things before we can continue on to do the work of God.<\/p>\nA DOOR NO MAN CAN SHUT<\/span>\n

Remember, in our opening Scripture, Jesus said, \"Behold, I set before you an open door.\"That means that once we are set apart and have fully embraced God's purpose for our life, all we have to do is get up and go through the door that He has set before us! The text implies that though our strength is small, we are invited to arise and pass through into a place of victory which has already been prepared for us. We do not have to fight for it, for the fight has already been won. As the Scripture says, \"'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts<\/em>\" (Zechariah 4:6). You see, God is not asking us to craft some brilliant strategy in order to win our cities. He is simply saying, \"I am asking you to get up in the smallness of your strength and go through whatever door I open for you. You will go through solely by faith and it is a door that no man can shut!\"<\/p>\n

We may not know exactly what that door will look like for each one of us, but we do know that those who are willing to go through it have an incredible promise from the Lord: \"I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you<\/em>\" (Revelation 3:9). I believe the Lord is saying to us today: \"If you follow Me, I will do something so powerful in and through your life that false religion will lose its hold on the people.\"<\/p>\n

Jesus continued, \"I will make you a pillar in the temple of My God. And I will write on you the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven. And I will write on him My new name. He who has an ear, let him heart what the Spirit says to the churches\" (see Revelation 3:12–13). In other words, \"I will give you strength, making you unmovable. I will write on you the name of hope and victory in the midst of a crooked and deceived generation. You will have another countenance. You will have a source of inward strength that does not come from anything in this world—it comes only from Me!\"<\/p>\n

I can see it now: Just as the early Church began on the Day of Pentecost, in smallness of strength, you and I will burst out into the marketplace one more time in our generation, and false religion will bend its knee before us. We will travel from place to place in our weakness, and the glory of God will follow us. That which seeks to destroy men and women around us will have to bend its knee, acknowledging that Jesus Christ is with us!<\/p>\n

Of course, this means that you and I are given the choice today: Will we stay in smallness? Will we stay swallowed up in what this world has told us we are? Or will we get up and go through the open door—in our weakness, in our struggles, in our trials—yet with faith to believe God for victory in every area of our lives? Will we believe that God will give us the power to put away whatever needs to be forsaken—every work of darkness, evey wrong attitude of heart, every mistake we made in the past that still heeds the voice of condemnation?<\/p>\n

It is time for us to recognize our responsibility in this hour. It is time to believe God for the power to identify with the Body of Christ and fulfill the purpose that He has ordained for our lives! It is time to get up, though we have only a little strength, and go through that open door into a victory that only God can bring—believing God for our families, our coworkers, our city, our nation! It is time to believe God as Moses did—not because of our own strength or with our own plans, but because of the victory of Christ who has given us authority over all the power of the enemy (see Luke 10:19). Remember, God is the One who makes us more than we are. He is the One who takes us where we could never go, that His name might be glorified once again in the earth!<\/p>"},"46":{"sm_title":"Pray For the Future of Our Nation","sm_id":"275","sm_desc":"","sm_jpg":"","sm_date":"2017-03","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2017\/01\/19h1\/20170119h1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47915_sermon-newsletter-201703-pray-for-the-future-of-our-nation.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you<\/em>\"(1 Corinthians 1:10-11).<\/p>\n

In this passage, the apostle Paul was writing to the Corinthian church, among whom contentions were rising regarding the church leaders—Paul, Apollos, Cephas and Christ. People had a preference for specific leaders over others, resulting in arguments and division.<\/p>

Likewise, we know that everyone has his own opinion today regarding our leaders—whether religious or otherwise—for God has given us the ability to think and discern. So how would it be even remotely possible for us to begin to \"all speak the same thing\" as Paul instructed?<\/p>\n

There is only one way that can happen: You and I must ask God to give us the mind of Christ. We all need the mind of Christ in order to help us see above the struggles, trials, divisions, and contentions of this world and, instead, to start seeing things from heaven's perspective.<\/p>\n

Elsewhere in the Scriptures, Paul had instructions for Timothy which are also critical for us in this hour: \"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth<\/em>\" (1 Timothy 2:1-4). In other words, Paul was saying, \"I want you to pray; I want you to intercede. And I want you to give thanks for all men—for leaders and those who are in authority.\"<\/p>\n

Perhaps you are thinking, \"But what if I don't like the one who is in authority? How can I give thanks for that person?\"<\/p>\n

There is only one way I know: God said in His Word that all who are in authority are planted there by Him. That means that the Lord has given us the leaders He has determined we need for this season in our country—even if the ones He has appointed are for the express purpose of getting us back into the secret place of prayer.<\/p>\n

Notice that when the Bible says \"giving of thanks for all who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life,<\/em>\" (1 Timothy 2:1) it does not promise that everything is going to go well. Rather, it means that we can live at peace no matter what may be going on in society around us, having come to the point where we can confidently say, \"God, thank You for giving us what we need at this moment in history. Thank You that You are still in control. And no matter what it will take to bring about an awakening in this country, I trust You!\"<\/p>\nTHE EARLY CHURCH<\/span>\n

We see throughout the Bible that the Lord always makes a way for His people to live in peace, despite external circumstances. Consider for a moment the beginnings of the early Church when the situation was anything but peaceful. Jesus had just been crucified, and there was a blood-thirsty crowd in the marketplace, dead set against the followers of Christ.<\/p>\n

The Scriptures tell us that the disciples were assembled in an upper room, \"for fear of the Jews<\/em>\" (John 20:19). In other words, there was great fear in their hearts regarding all that was taking place around them. Yet, suddenly Jesus walked into the room, and the first word out of His mouth was, \"Peace!\"<\/p>\n

This illustrates the point that while the whole world lives in the realm of natural understanding, merely responding according to what they can see with their eyes, God calls His people to live differently. That means that in the midst of the sewer of opinions today, with all the vilifying, yelling, blaming and hating that is going on, you and I are called to live in a higher place—a place where we understand that God is in total control of all things! When Jesus walked into that room, in effect, He was saying to His disciples, \"It looks really bad, doesn't it? But remember, it is not out of God's control. As a matter of fact, everything is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to.\" What appeared to be a disaster was actually the perfect will of God being played out for the salvation of humankind!<\/p>\n

And so we are reminded that, as believers in Christ, we are not to live merely seeing things from a natural perspective. There must come a point when we trust God, believing that all things are working together for good. Remember, the whole purpose of the work of God on the earth is the saving of the lost—bringing people out of sin and darkness and into the kingdom of God—and you and I must be willing to endure whatever it takes for that to happen.<\/p>\nANOTHER VANTAGE POINT<\/span>\n

As we pray for the future of our nation, it is encouraging to look back at what the Lord did in the prophet Elijah's day. I have no doubt that people were praying for their nation. After all, the Bible tells us that there were seven thousand who had not bent their knee to the spirit of that age (see 1 Kings 19:18). I can imagine them crying out, \"God, help us! God, bring Israel back to her purpose again. Be merciful to our children!\"<\/p>\n

How did God answer the cries of His people? He stopped the rain! There must have been many who looked at their circumstances from a natural perspective and said, \"Lord, we are asking You to help us, not starve us to death!\" Nevertheless, God did what was necessary in order to get the people to that mountain so that His power might be displayed again. As it says in Isaiah, \"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'<\/em>\"(Isaiah 55:8-9).<\/p>\n

We see this truth illustrated again in the fact that when Jesus came to the nation of Israel as a baby, and subsequently as Savior, it was a time when they were being occupied. The nation was in turmoil, and its religion was being vilified. Now, it would have been easy for God to change in an instant all that was oppressing His people, but He chose not to. And it is because of His choice that you and I are here today. The victory of the cross was won, and sin was atoned for. What looked to be a disastrous plan in the natural was actually the plan of God that brought you and me to Christ!<\/p>\n

And so now you and I must have the maturity to operate as citizens of heaven. According to the Scriptures, we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 2:6), and that means we ought to have another mind. Despite what may appear to be confusion and disorder in this hour, we must understand that God is in control and everything is working together so that His purposes might be fulfilled. This does not mean that we do not use our minds. It does not mean that we bury our heads in the sand and refuse to be aware of the issues; nor does it mean that we do not have an opinion. It just means that we ultimately have a higher opinion than what all the circumstances around us may warrant. As followers of Christ, we are to look at this world from another vantage point. Our value system is based on the souls of men and the honor of God, and because of that, we are called to pray with fervency for our nation and our leaders.<\/p>\n

I encourage you to think through some of these things before you pray. Paul said that we are to pray with supplications and intercessions, giving thanks for all men—for kings and all who are in authority. Perhaps some of you feel that you have to force yourselves to give thanks for our president and vice president. Yet as hard as you may find it, you must allow the Holy Spirit to lift you higher than just an opinion or an argument—a limited view of what God is doing in this society. The world cannot do this because they do not have the Spirit of God. But we do, and therefore we are able to rise above the passions of our own hearts and say, \"God, thank You that You have given us exactly what we need for Your purposes to come to pass!\"<\/p>\n

Remember, it does not mean that we agree with everything, but we do choose to agree with God. We may not fully understand it all right now, but one day we will know even as we are known (see 1 Corinthians 13:12).<\/p>\nA PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING<\/span>\n

Although our nation is deeply divided today, there is still reason to remain hopeful. It is going to take a revival to heal us, and that is what I am believing for. I am believing that God's house will be filled once again—that people of all cultures, backgrounds, races, characters, and even political affiliations will come together and start to pray. I am believing for something deeper than I can see with my natural eyes.<\/p>\n

Whatever it takes to win the lost—whatever it takes for God's name to be honored in this nation—is guiding my value system now. And that is where God gives a peace that passes understanding. It is deeper and higher than what we know or can see; it is something that can come only from Him.<\/p>\n

Yes, everything going on today may lend itself to unrest and anxiety. \"What will we do? Where will we live? What will we eat? Where will we work?\"Nevertheless, the people of God can remain at peace, for we are not relying on any secular leader to do what only God can do!<\/p>\n

And so today I challenge you to find that place of peace in your heart. You are needed as an agent for change in this divided, bitter time. Remember that the Scripture says, \"As much as is possible, live peaceably with all men\"(see Romans 12:18). We can choose to be bitter and divided, or we can choose to live peaceably and trust God. Each of us has that decision to make daily. If you make the right choice, your words will have power. My prayer is that God will help all of us as His Church to be channels of truth and healing in this moment of time. When we open our mouths, may it be a river of life and not death that flows out, for the Bible says, \"Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so<\/em>\"(James 3:10). There is incredible power in our speech—power in the words we choose to say as well as how we choose to say them. I am finding lately that while I may intend to say something one way, the Holy Spirit brings it out in a completely different way. It is as if my words are simply being altered by the Holy Spirit as I speak so as not to wound, hurt or divide. That is what it is like to be governed by the Spirit of God.<\/p>\n

May each of us have a character that is enviable. Sure, people may think we are foolish at first. But when we walk away, let them begin to ask in their hearts, just as the once blood-thirsty crowd did in the Book of Acts: \"Where did they get that peace? What do I have to do to get it?\"(see Acts 2:37).<\/p>\n

May each of us take the time to truly pray with thanksgiving for our nation, believing that somehow healing is going to come—sovereignly, divinely, in a way we may not be able to see with our natural eyes but somehow know in our hearts. May we be confident that God is still on the throne, His purposes are being fulfilled, and He will receive all the glory!<\/p>"},"47":{"sm_title":"When I Don't Understand","sm_id":"273","sm_desc":"God's ways are not always easy to understand and we may never get an explanation for some of the dark valleys we go through, but we can trust that God knows what is best for us. In times of trials and afflictions, God is teaching us to depend on Him. If we are going to represent God we must be prepared to partaker in His suffering. Through the process God is producing something inside of us to help us minister to others. The answer to your suffering is the simple fact that God is faithful and through it all He will give us all we need to get through every trial and storm.","sm_jpg":"47776_jb_20161127.jpg","sm_date":"2017-02","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/11\/27s1\/20161127s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/11\/27s1\/20161127s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"RGHWo82KktU","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47874_sermon-newsletter-201702-when-i-dont-understand.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

There are moments in every Christian's life when it seems the only conclusion we can come to is, \"I don't understand.\" We do not understand the way God is leading us; we do not understand the work He is doing in our lives. Soon one may even begin to wonder, \"Have I missed God? Did I take a wrong turn somewhere along this journey? Why does the Lord seem so distant?\"<\/p>\n

Even King David expressed such sentiments. \"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?<\/em>\"(Psalm 22:1). Of course, this is the psalm that Jesus Christ quoted on the cross when He cried, \"My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?<\/em>\" (Matthew 27:46).<\/p>\n

Obviously the hand of God was on David as he penned those words which described Christ's sufferings. But we can draw the inference that David must have been experiencing those emotions in his own life as well. After having begun his life with such promise—the presence of God upon him in an unprecedented way since the time of his youth—he had now come to a point where he felt forsaken. \"O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent<\/em>\" (Psalm 22:2). In other words, \"I am seeking You night and day. I am crying out to You, but why are You not hearing me?\"<\/p>\n

I know the feeling. There was a season when I became very, very sick. After moving to the United States in 1994, I found myself developing a cough the following year, which continued to grow worse. It turned out that our home in New Jersey contained toxic mold and by the time it was discovered, the entire attic was black, with no visible wood!<\/p>\n

One of the best doctors in the country diagnosed me with bronchial asthma and then told me my bronchial tubes were so damaged that I most likely would never recover. I remember having to breathe into an oxygen mask every morning for about fifteen minutes to try to get rid of the terrible headaches that are characteristic of toxic mold poisoning. Even walking down the street proved to be a challenge, as I would often feel like I was about to pass out. Needless to say, it was a time of despair—a time when many questions came into my heart.<\/p>\nDAVID'S \"WHY?\"<\/span>\n

I imagine that it was incredibly difficult for King David to understand his season of trial, as well, especially when for so long he had lived a life governed and sustained by the promises of God. \"You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother's womb You have been My God<\/em>\"(Psalm 22:9–10). He was raised in the ways of the Lord and learned to trust Him early. He trusted God for the power to fight a lion and a bear as a young teenager. And after the prophet Samuel poured a flask of oil upon his head, prophesying what God was going to do in and through his life, David went on to defeat a giant called Goliath. David won many other incredible victories as well—ones that he knew could have come only by the help of God.<\/p>\n

Yet now David goes on to say, \"Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; and there is none to help<\/em>\"(Psalm 22:11). There is no historical data that tells us exactly when he wrote this psalm. Perhaps it was when he was being pursued by Saul—a king who lost the Spirit of God and was envious of him. Regardless of the situation, David knew in his heart that his own natural strength would not be sufficient to meet his need. Yet God was seemingly distant.<\/p>\n

David could have easily asked the questions that you and I ask. \"What happened to all the promises You made to me? Will they ever be fulfilled? Why do I have to go through all this?\"<\/p>\n LESSONS IN THE WILDERNESS<\/span>\n

The prophet Elijah was another who had seasons when he did not understand what God was doing. He was a man committed to seeing the Lord glorified, and he had prayed for the spiritual restoration of a nation that he loved. God could have simply come down in the fullness of His glory, and the whole nation would have bent its knee. Yet, how did God respond to Elijah's prayer? He sent a drought (see 1 Kings 17:1)!<\/p>\n

God chose to do it this way in order to cause the people to begin to consider their ways. Meanwhile, the Lord's instructions to Elijah were: \"Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there<\/em>\"(1 Kings 17:3–4). Elijah could have asked, \"What is going on, Lord? I know who You are; I know the power that You have. So why this long delay in answering my prayer? And why do I have to sit beside this brook, waiting for ravens to come drop some meat into my lap every day?\"<\/p>\n

Of course, you and I can understand in hindsight why God did it this way. First of all, if Elijah was going to represent God before the people, he had to be a partaker of their sufferings. Second, the Lord was teaching Elijah that He could provide in the wilderness. You see, God knew that Elijah would soon have to pass through a wasteland of his own feelings of failure and depression.<\/p>\n

Not far down the road, following a great victory, Elijah would end up fleeing from a queen named Jezebel. Running into the wilderness, he would become so overwhelmed by a sense of failure that he would ask God to take His life. And so this was an important time of preparation for Elijah—a time of instilling deep within his heart the assurance that no matter what may come, God would never fail or forsake him. Likewise, God knows what you and I are about to face in the future, and He knows what it will take to get us through. Therefore, as a faithful Father, He starts to prepare us beforehand.<\/p>\n

The lesson did not stop there for Elijah. The brook dried up and God sent Elijah to a poor widow. Why a poor widow? Why not a rich one? By her own testimony, this widow was going out to gather sticks to make a fire so that she could make cakes for herself and her son before they died.<\/p>\n

Yet God sent Elijah to this home and said, \"I have commanded a widow to feed you and look after you\" (see 1 Kings 17:9). I believe Elijah needed to see what God could do with just a little bit of faith and a little bit of resource. God was about to use him to train others to believe for the next generation!<\/p>\n

Similarly, when revival comes and we experience a spiritual awakening in America, people are going to flock to the house of God with seemingly little faith and little resource. That is why, having experienced it ourselves, we must have the eyes to see that God can take nothing and make something out of it. He does not need our talent; He does not need our resources. He simply needs somebody willing to say, \"God, would You take my life and use it for Your glory?\"<\/p>\nIS THIS REALLY NECESSARY?<\/span>\n

Returning to our opening psalm, we see David continue to say, \"You have answered Me. I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when he cried to Him, He heard<\/em>\"(Psalm 22:21–24).<\/p>\n

David realized that no matter what it may have felt like initially, he had not been forsaken by God. You, too, can be assured that when you cried out to God—when you offered your life to be used for His glory—He heard you! However, the reason we get into trouble in our understanding of God is because when we pray, we immediately formulate a picture in our minds as to what the answer is going to look like. And when it does not pan out exactly that way, we end up frustrated and confused.<\/p>\n

Back in those days when I was very sick, I remember praying, \"Lord, I cried out to You and asked You to use my life for Your glory. I came to New York City by Your will, not by my own. I stood by a man of God, and I fought his enemies as if they were my own. It was a difficult time. And now I can barely breathe!\" One particular night, I was walking by a restaurant called Beef Steak Charlie's that used to be on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. It was one of those times when I was seeing black dots around me because I was on the verge of passing out. I suddenly cried out loud, \"Is this really necessary?\"<\/p>\n

It was not an accusation against God. Nevertheless, I could not help but wonder: \"Hasn't it been hard enough here? Lord, You sent me to help this man of God, and I gave everything I had for this battle to the point of exhaustion. Now I am so sick that I can hardly breathe. Is this really, really necessary?\"<\/p>\n

I was shocked at the Lord's reply: \"Yes, it is very necessary!\"<\/p>\n

Immediately, passages from Psalm 119 came into my mind. \"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word<\/em>\" (v. 67). \"In faithfulness You have afflicted me<\/em>\" (v. 75). God was speaking to my heart, \"It is My faithfulness that has allowed this in your life. You are not being overpowered by the devil; this is not even the devil attacking you. I have allowed this to come into your life for a specific reason. I had to take away your strength in order to teach you how to be dependent on Me. I don't want your opinions; I don't want your ideas. I want you to obey Me. I want you to learn how to follow Me when I speak. I have afflicted you in faithfulness; I am preparing you for what is to come.\"<\/p>\n

How faithful God is! I didn't know at that time that I would soon be called to be senior pastor of Times Square Church! It had not even entered my thinking. But God knew, and He knew what He needed to do in order to prepare me.<\/p>\nHIS WAYS ARE HIGHER<\/span>\n

If you find yourself today in the middle of a trial that has left you confused and in despair, you can take comfort in the fact that there is a purpose behind it. You may not understand it now, but it is just as the Lord said to the prophet Isaiah: \"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'<\/em>\"(Isaiah 55:8–9). God does things His way. We may question why and sometimes we will get the answer. But there are other times when we will not. It all boils down to trust!<\/p>\n

I have learned that I do not always have to know the reason for what I am going through. All I need to know is that God will be faithful. He will be faithful to me, and He will be faithful to you! He will be faithful to your marriage, faithful to your children, faithful to keep your mind! The devil is not going to gain advantage over you, for Jesus Christ has interwoven the honor of His Name in keeping you.<\/p>\n

Although it will not be easy to walk through these seasons of trial, just remember that God is planting within you what you will need to get through the days ahead. He is depositing His strength in you. So instead of constantly asking why, learn to say, \"God, I choose to trust You today. I do not need any other answer; the answer is that You are faithful. You will never be anything but faithful to me. You will not forsake me!\"<\/p>\n

I love what the passage in Isaiah goes on to say: \"For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands<\/em>\"(Isaiah 55:12). The mountains'breaking forth into singing represents every obstacle being commanded to worship God. \"Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree<\/em>\"(Isaiah 55:13). In other words, instead of all that appears to be barren and hopeless, all that seems to cause pain, there is going to be fruitfulness in your life. \"And it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off<\/em>\" (Isaiah 55:13).<\/p>\n

God was saying through Isaiah, \"Yes, you are going to go through times of pain and barrenness. But I am going to bring you out, and you will know Me in such an intimate way that it will seem as if all of nature is clapping her hands at how faithful I have been! I am going to take you in your nothingness and confusion, and do such a powerful work in you that it will bring glory to My name!\" Hallelujah!<\/p>"},"48":{"sm_title":"Spiritual Depression","sm_id":"271","sm_desc":"Spiritual depression is something that can happen to the godliest among us. It can afflict those whose hearts are tender and passionate for truth, and who long for a return to right living in their society. If left unabated, spiritual depression can lead to isolation from everyone and everything. We are exhorted in the book of Hebrews; Do not neglect the assembling of yourselves. Don't try to go at it alone! As you come through these dark places, there will be a compassion deposited in your heart from the suffering, that was never there before. You will begin to recognize that, without God, I can do nothing. But with God I can do all things!","sm_jpg":"47660_jb_20161002.jpg","sm_date":"2017-01","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/10\/02s1\/20161002s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/10\/02s1\/20161002s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"9ozaxDRi8W8","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47831_sermon-newsletter-201701-spiritual-depression.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, 'So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.' And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, \"It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!<\/em>\" (1 Kings 19:1–4).<\/p>\n

In this passage of Scripture, we have a picture of what could be considered spiritual depression. Although it can be marked by feelings of despair similar to clinical depression or regret over sin or failure, spiritual depression is distinguished by the fact that it happens solely to those who love God. It afflicts those whose hearts are passionate for truth—who long for a return to right living in their society.<\/p>\n

Is that the longing of your heart today? Do you find yourself vexed when you read the news and see the vilification of truth, the exaltation of ungodliness? Referring to the last days, Jesus warned that \"because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold<\/em>\" (Matthew 24:12). It is evident that lawlessness is abounding in our generation, and as we witness society caving in to ever-increasing evil, it is easy for this love in our hearts to begin to fade—the love of people, the love of our calling in the Body of Christ, and, ultimately, the love of life itself! Eventually, many Christians find themselves praying, \"God, please just take me home! If I should die when I am asleep, I am okay with that. I will be with You forever.\"<\/p>\n

If those sentiments sound familiar, I believe you will be encouraged as we look at Elijah's journey and learn from some of his mistakes. For example, we see in our opening passage that when depression hit Elijah, the first thing he did was abandon the one who had been given to him for comfort and strength. \"He arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there<\/em>\" (1 Kings 19:3).<\/p>\n

This is just like the believer in Christ who, as he begins to suffer from depression, stops attending church— thus abandoning those who were sent to comfort him. You see, Elijah's servant was meant to be a companion who would help meet his needs and encourage him on his journey. And so if you begin to suffer from spiritual depression, beware lest you cast off the very people God put in your life to help and comfort you. Do not isolate yourself and attempt to walk through this valley alone, for that is one of the worst mistakes you can make!<\/p>\nINTO THE WILDERNESS<\/span>\n

The Scriptures go on to tell us that Elijah \"went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors'<\/em>\"(1 Kings 19:4, NIV).<\/p>\n

In other words, \"I had such high expectations of my life—of how I would impact this society. Yet when I thought I would stand and push back the darkness, I discovered that I didn't have the strength.\"And so Elijah plummeted deeper into hopelessness. He began to lose his sense of identity and purpose until he ultimately lost the will to live.<\/p>\n

If you love God, you will go through this valley. So when it happens, remember that affliction is not unique to you. Many others have had to pass through this valley of the shadow of death—a season when they would rather die than live. The apostle Paul put it this way: \"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 10:13). More than once I, too, have gone through this valley. I have had darkness fall upon my heart for reasons I could not explain. I have even had sudden despair hit me in the midst of a season of great victory. One particular year when we had baptized a thousand people in our church, I found myself falling into a hole. Sometimes the depression would last for days, sometimes longer. Every pastor who walks with God goes through this; nobody is exempt from it!<\/p>\n

The Bible goes on to tell us that Elijah \"lay down under the bush and fell asleep<\/em>\" (1 Kings 19:5). In other words, he turned to sleep for a refuge, neglecting the things that could usher his return to strength. In the same way, Christians suffering from spiritual depression will often stop reading their Bible. They will stop attending church or fellowshipping with other believers and, instead, they will start sleeping all the time. Spiritual depression, if unabated, can lead to isolation from everyone and everything—if not in body, at least in mind and heart.<\/p>\nTHE IMPORTANCE OF FELLOWSHIP<\/span>\n

Although it is reassuring to know that you are not the only one experiencing this, perhaps you are still wondering: How exactly am I going to get through?<\/p>\n

Well, first, it is important to realize that God has given you the Body of Christ. For example, when you go to church, the Lord is using your pastor and others there to remind you that He has not abandoned you. That is why the Bible tells us: \"Do not neglect the assembling of yourselves, especially as the day draws closer\"(see Hebrews 10:25). In other words, do not neglect gathering with other believers, especially in our day as darkness begins to increase. Don't try to get through this alone; don't try to hide your struggles. Tell the truth when somebody asks you, \"How are you doing?\" Don't play a religious game, assuming you have to project the image of a victorious Christian all the time.<\/p>\n

However, the good news is that even if you do try to isolate yourself, the Lord will seek you out. We see in the Bible that Elijah \"went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'<\/em>\" (1 Kings 19:9–10). In that place where Elijah attempted to shut himself away, the Lord did not abandon him. In the same way, Jesus will come to you and ask you why you are in such despair. And the amazing thing is that He is not offended if your answer is confusing!<\/p>\n

You see, one of the things about spiritual depression is that you start thinking wrong. You start having wrong thoughts about God, about yourself, and about other people. Elijah said, \"They have killed Your prophets with the sword; they have torn down Your altars, and I am the only one left!\" (see 1 Kings 19:14). Yet that was not actually true, for there were seven thousand more whom God had reserved in Israel. Elijah also insisted, \"They seek to take my life<\/em>\" (1 Kings 19:14). Actually, \"they\" were not seeking his life, it was only Jezebel, a wicked queen.<\/p>\n

In spiritual depression, you can reach a point where it feels as if everybody is against you; suddenly you do not trust anyone anymore. But just as God was not offended by Elijah's confusion, He will not walk away from you simply because you have come to some wrong conclusions about your situation.<\/p>\nTHE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT<\/span>\n

The Bible also tells us that Elijah \"slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, 'Arise and eat'<\/em>\" (1 Kings 19:5). How interesting that it was a broom tree because, realistically, it was a place where the devil was trying to sweep him out of the kingdom of God! \"And he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, 'Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.' So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God<\/em>\"(1 Kings 19:6–8).<\/p>\n

Here we see another reason why you can be confident that you will get through any season of spiritual depression: The Lord Himself will minister to you, just as He did to Elijah. The Bible says that when we need it, the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance the things we have learned (see John 14:26).<\/p>\n

For example, when you feel as if everything is hopeless, suddenly you will wake up in the middle of the night with verses of Scripture rolling through your mind. \"I will never leave you nor forsake you<\/em>\"(Hebrews 13:5). \"No weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn<\/em>\"(Isaiah 54:17). No matter how discouraged you are, the Holy Spirit will be standing beside you, reminding you of who you are and giving you new strength!<\/p>\nTHE TENDERNESS OF GOD<\/span>\n

\"'Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.' And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice<\/em>\" (1 Kings 19:11–12).<\/p>\n

Although God is all-powerful and could deliver us in any way He desires—He could split the mountains, He could send fire down—He instead chooses to use the greatest weapon of all to draw us out of despair: His tenderness! We see here that He came to Elijah with a still, small voice.<\/p>\n

No wonder David the king said, \"Your gentleness has made me great<\/em>\" (Psalm 18:35). Rather than dealing with us in the way we deserve, the Lord chooses to endure our failings and walk with us in our struggles. He is a gentle Savior, and He will not allow us to be burdened beyond what we can bear!<\/p>\nA LOVE FOR PEOPLE<\/span>\n

There is one other thing that God did to pull Elijah out of his despair. Remember, in Elijah's mind, it had always been about crowds, confrontation, and bringing the nation back to God. He had a grand vision of his life and what God was able to do through him. Yet it was when that vision did not fully manifest that despair hit his heart.<\/p>\n

However, notice that God did not send Elijah back to Mount Carmel saying, \"Go rebuild the altar, and I will send another fire,\" or \"Go back to the city and challenge Jezebel.\" Instead, the Lord essentially said to him: \"I want you to get up, and I want you to walk with Me. You are going to anoint two people who will be secular leaders with profound impact in the nation. You are also going to anoint one man who will take your place as a spiritual voice to the nation\" (see 1 Kings 19:15). Amazing! The rest of Elijah's life would, at least initially, be about three people! God was going to anoint three people through his life, and they would go on to become conquerors, raising their hands against evil.<\/p>\n

I believe God's desire was simply for Elijah to touch the lives of these three with the same tenderness that he received from the Lord. I can picture Elijah at that point emerging from his despair, saying, \"I can do that! I can touch the lives of three people.\"<\/p>\n

When Elijah went to Elisha and put his mantle upon him, saying, \"Come and follow me,\" Elisha said, \"Please, just let me go say goodbye to my household\" (see 1 Kings 19:20). Ordinarily, Elijah would have concluded, \"If you are turning back, you are not fit for the kingdom of God,\" and he would have continued on his way. However, the Scriptures tell us that Elisha had to take his oxen and slaughter them, then call together all his family and friends to say goodbye. I imagine this must have taken a few weeks. All the while, Elijah was waiting for him. It is unlikely that Elijah would have done that before. Yet now he had experienced what it was like to be weak; he had been touched by the tenderness of God. Being in a place of despair worked something into his character that had not been there before. I believe that for the first time in his life, he was actually enjoying people!<\/p>\nPAUL'S JOURNEY TO TENDERNESS<\/span>\n

We see another picture of this in the life of the apostle Paul. When he started out on his journey with God, he was driven to the point of being intolerant, evidenced in his dealings with a young man named Mark. \"Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark<\/em>\" (Acts 15:37–39).<\/p>\n

You see, in his zeal, Paul was just like the Elijah type in the Body of Christ who concludes, \"Anybody turning back is not fit for the kingdom of God.\" Even I used to be like that as a young preacher. I once grabbed a man at the altar who said he could not stop drinking. \"I did, and you can, too!\" I exclaimed to him.<\/p>\n

But what does God do in His mercy? He allows us to reach a place of weakness and despair, and that is when His tenderness comes into our lives. If you sequentially follow Paul's writings, you can see that tenderness emerging over the course of his life. Near the end, he even instructs another disciple, \"Bring Mark, for he is profitable for the ministry\"(see 2 Timothy 4:11). He had become a completely different man!<\/p>\n

How do you think that happened? I believe it was because, as he depicted his time in Asia, \"we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life<\/em>\" (2 Corinthians 1:8). In other words, \"We did not think we were going to make it. Apart from the strength of God, we could not get through.\" I cannot help but wonder if in that moment he remembered Mark. After all, it is often when we find ourselves in our own place of weakness and trials that we look back and remember others to whom we were unkind. We suddenly recognize that we ourselves have failed and struggled. We needed a kind word from somebody; we needed the body of Christ, for none of us can make it on this journey alone!<\/p>\nYOUR COMMISSION<\/span>\n

So if you have been suffering from spiritual depression, my question to you is: Can you believe God for three people? Can you believe that God will use your life to touch them, just as He did with Elijah, and that they will go on to make a difference for the kingdom? Are you willing to acknowledge that your role in the Body of Christ is not lost?<\/p>\n

I encourage you to allow God to recommission you today. He is willing to pull you out of despair and give you a new vision for the future. Remember, it was when Elijah stepped out to do the three things God had put before him that the depression left!<\/p>\n

One other thing I love about Elijah's story is that after Elisha said his goodbyes, \"he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant<\/em>\"(1 Kings 19:21). Remember that the first thing Elijah did when depression hit was abandon his servant—the very one whom God had sent to encourage him. But in the end, when God rekindled and recommissioned Elijah, God gave him a friend! My prayer is that God will give each of us friends in the Body of Christ as well—a beautiful reminder that we are never alone on this journey!<\/p>"},"49":{"sm_title":"The Necessity Of Weakness","sm_id":"269","sm_desc":"When we are facing a flood of godlessness trying to purport itself as good; when we are at a moment in history when we are being marginalized; when we are being vilified; when we are being pushed to the side-lines of society, Jesus Christ, because of His mercy, will make His church aware of our need of Him again.
By mercy and grace, just like he did with Paul, God will allow this buffeting of His body to finally bring us to the place of saying, \"God, we can't do this without you!\" To finally bring us to the place where we, in humility, go back to prayer again.
Humankind typically despises weakness. We have a tendency throughout history to shun the simplicity of faith, and gravitate to something more visual, more hands-on, more self-satisfying. Do we live our whole life trying to get out of the very things that God has sent to make us strong?God says, I have to make you weak first, so you can be strong because your strength is not in yourself! Your strength is in Me; it's in the power of My Spirit within your life. But it only comes when we are out of the way. It's the ultimate irony in a sense, when we become weak, we become strong.","sm_jpg":"47617_jb_20160904.jpg","sm_date":"2016-12","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/09\/04s1\/20160904s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/09\/04s1\/20160904s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"HcvGOr1erUo","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47770_sermon-newsletter-201612-the-necessity-of-weakness.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God<\/em>\" (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).<\/p>\n

By his own testimony, the Apostle Paul stood among the people in weakness. Yet it is arguable that prior to meeting Christ, in his own natural ability he had stood as the strongest among his peers. He described his former life as very strict–taught by the best minds of his day, bypassing others who were striving to advance themselves religiously in the same way that he was (see Acts 22:3, Galatians 1:14). Paul even said of himself, \"Concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless<\/em>\" (Philippians 3:6). What a phenomenal boast on his part! It would be the same as somebody without Christ today claiming, \"To the best of my knowledge, I have thought no evil, spoken no evil, and seen no evil. I have done everything the way I believe God would have me do it.\"<\/p>\n

Before his conversion, Paul obviously was very determined, strong-willed, and successful. And so we ask ourselves the question: Why, then, when adding Christ to all of this, would he now consider himself weak? And why would he prefer weakness to his former state?<\/p>\nBOASTING IN WEAKNESS<\/span>\n

In the book of Second Corinthians, Paul speaks of a time when he was caught up to the third heaven–a place where he heard utterances that he could not even put into words (see 2 Corinthians 12:2-4). \"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure<\/em>\" (2 Corinthians 12:7). In other words, lest it become all about me; lest I become proud in my own strength. After all, that is the human condition. The fallen nature of man wants to boast in itself.<\/p>\n

The Bible tells us that this thorn in his flesh was so grievous to Paul that he pleaded with God to take it away. Yet the Lord replied, \"'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I [Paul] will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong<\/em>\"(2 Corinthians 12:9-10).<\/p>\n

Paul learned to boast in everything that was allowed to come into his life that kept him entirely dependent upon God. At one point, he even testified that \"when we were in Asia we were pressed above strength to the point that we despaired of life<\/em>\"(2 Corinthians 1:8). In other words, we thought we were not going to make it. It was so difficult!<\/p>\n

Perhaps life feels just like that for you these days. It is hard going to the same job and listening to the same gossiping voices all around you. It is hard coming home to the same empty apartment or fighting for the semblance of family that you have left. Everything is just so difficult. But that is why we must learn, as Paul did, that there is a strength available in Christ that human intellect or effort cannot even begin to touch. It is not available to the proud, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. If you are ever going be used of God, you must first discover this truth.<\/p>\nNO MATCH FOR THE ENEMY<\/span>\n

Unfortunately, humankind typically despises weakness. Throughout history, we see the tendency to shun the simplicity of faith and gravitate toward something more tangible and self-satisfying. For example, we see that in the Old Testament, God Himself was leading the Israelites. Nevertheless, the people got tired of walking in the simplicity of faith and wanted to follow something more visible. They wanted something human that they could take pride in, so they went to Samuel and essentially said, \"We want a king like the other nations around us. We have had the divine, but we want human leadership now. We want to worship something that is visible\" (see 1 Samuel 8:4-5).<\/p>\n

And so God gave them a king named Saul. He was handsome, standing head and shoulders above everyone, and everybody rejoiced. However, what they got was a strategist, not a seeker. Although Saul started out with a marginal acceptance of spiritual things, ultimately he was a thinker–a self-made man who led predominantly by his own reasoning.<\/p>\n

Of course, Saul did manage to win many great victories. He defeated the Amalekites; he had an army that was well-trained. Everything seemed to be going fine until suddenly the Israelites were confronted with Goliath–a power that everyone, including Saul, knew they could not defeat in their own strength.<\/p>\n

I can just picture the Israelites with all their armor, looking to their king standing a foot or so taller than the rest–representing their confidence in human strength and ingenuity to lead them. However, Saul could do nothing but tremble with the rest of them. Eventually, the people began searching for holes in the rocks to hide in. They were a type of Christians in our generation who find themselves unable to go forward. Many are thinking about finding a safe place to hide where they can ride out the coming storm. \"How can I get by without being persecuted in the marketplace? How can I avoid being vilified or fired because I believe in traditional marriage and the sanctity of life?\"<\/p>\n

All the while, this mammoth, big- mouthed giant was coming out every morning and challenging the armies of Israel, saying, \"You are going to serve us. There is no chance that you are going to win this fight!\"(see 1 Samuel 17:8-9). And that was true...in the physical realm. Nobody in his own strength could match the power that was standing on the other side of that valley. Likewise, if you and I try to fight the darkness of this hour with human reasoning and human zeal, we will discover that we are no match for it.<\/p>\nTHE STRENGTH OF GOD REVEALED<\/span>\n

The good news is that whenever things finally come to the point where it looks as if the people of God are up against an enemy they cannot defeat, the strength of God is revealed through weakness. In the case of Saul and his army, the strength of God was revealed through a teenage boy. One day, young David showed up in the Israelite camp, sent by his father with some cakes and cheese to give to his brothers. Now David came as one who had been walking with God–one with incredible passion for the honor of His name. That is what you and I need more than anything else! Remember, it is not about what we can do for God, it is about what God can do for Himself through us to glorify His own name!<\/p>\n

When he came into the camp, David essentially asked, \"Why are you all just standing there? Why won't anybody go and fight this uncircumcised Philistine? How dare he defy the armies of the living God?\" (see 1 Samuel 17:26). That is the kind of passion you and I must have in our hearts. \"Who are these principalities that dare defy the armies of the living God? What makes them think they can triumph over Christ and His Church? Didn't Jesus say, 'On this rock I build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it'? Isn't it written in the Scriptures, 'I give you power over serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you'?\"(see Matthew 16:18, Luke 10:19).<\/p>\n

When David offered to fight the giant, Saul took his armor and put it on David. Imagine how ridiculous that must have looked! And so David essentially said to Saul, \"I am sorry, but I cannot fight with this; I have not proven this! You see, I have lived by faith since I was young, and I have experienced the strength of God. I know what He can do!\"(see 1 Samuel 17:39). Perhaps that is your testimony as well. God has given you victories that you know you could not have secured on your own. You could not have escaped the prison that you were in; your marriage was dead until you began to pray. You could not have endured the trial that came into your life had you not trusted God!<\/p>\n

The Bible tells us that David took his staff in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook. He put the stones in his shepherd's bag, and with a sling in his hand, he drew near to the Philistine. If you look at this picture in the natural, it is preposterous to think that this boy would pick up five little stones to go fight a giant! Yet, suddenly the Spirit of God came upon David, and he began to prophesy, \"You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands<\/em>\"(1 Samuel 17:45-47). David was able to speak in the Spirit because he was fighting in the Spirit. And in his weakness, he was empowered to defeat this great enemy.<\/p>\nPAUL'S JOURNEY TO STRENGTH<\/span>\n

If you and I expect to experience this power of the Holy Spirit, we must learn to rejoice in those things that God allows in our lives to keep us dependent on Him. Yet I cannot help but wonder: Are we there yet? Or are we constantly trying to escape the very things that God has sent to make us strong?<\/p>\n

It is the ultimate of ironies. God must first make us weak so that our strength and our confidence will no longer be in ourselves. We see this hold true throughout Paul's journey. For example, it was in weakness that Paul, in the midst of a storm, was relegated to the belly of the ship among the slaves and prisoners. It was certainly not a place of human strength or influence. Yet it was there that Paul found wisdom and power that was stronger than the storm all around him. Eventually he was called to the deck of the ship, and he became the voice of authority and encouragement to all on board (see Acts 27).<\/p>\n

The Bible also tells us of a time when Paul and Silas were taken, beaten, and thrown into the inner prison (see Acts 16:22-23). Yet at midnight, in that place of weakness, they found the power to sing praises to God. It was the kind of worship that says, \"God, I may not understand everything, but I know that heaven is Your throne, and the earth is Your footstool. I know that You are in charge of all things.\" As they began to praise Him, the prison began to shake! The doors opened, and all the prisoners were set free. Even the jailer bent his knee to God and was baptized with his whole family. They had witnessed a strength in Paul and Silas that was greater than anything this world had to offer.<\/p>\n

On another occasion, the \"Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe<\/em>\" (Acts 14:19-20). It was in weakness that Paul found a divine ability to endure all that hell could throw against him. Although he was stoned and thought to be dead, a place of complete weakness, Paul eventually got up and finished his journey. The Scriptures tell us that he went with Barnabas to Derbe and strengthened the souls of the disciples!<\/p>\nTHE END OF OURSELVES<\/span>\n

In every place of weakness that Paul found himself, I am sure he had to fight the constant lies of the devil. So do not be surprised when the devil tries to convince you that you are finished. He will try to tell you that you are too weak and there is no point in going on. \"Why bother opening your mouth again? Why bother trying to serve God?\" But I am telling you that even when you reach your lowest point, God can cause you to rise up again in the power of the Spirit.<\/p>\n

I often say it this way: The end of ourselves is the beginning of God. So in those moments when you feel weak or defeated, take courage, for you may actually be on the brink of the greatest victory that you have ever known. Remember, God takes the weak to confound those who are strong; He takes the foolish to confound those who are standing in their own wisdom. Therefore, do not worry about the things that come against you in this world. You have a power source within you that is greater than all of the strength of this world put together. And one day, like Paul, you are going to testify, \"I rejoice in the difficulties that I have had to experience. I rejoice in all the things that have come against me. Even though I might stand in weakness and trembling, even though there is sometimes a measure of fear in my heart, I know I will not be defeated. No Goliath, nothing of evil, no weapon of hell has any authority over me. The purpose that God has for my life will be fulfilled!\"<\/p>"},"50":{"sm_title":"A Cry At The King's Gate","sm_id":"263","sm_desc":"It's human nature that when we become familiar with something, we can become bored with it over time. We become bored with prayer, we become bored with going to church, but there's' a cry now in the nation \u00e2\u20ac\u201c it may not be audible \u00e2\u20ac\u201c but God hears it. A cry from a distance because they don't have access to the throne of God the way you and I do as the bride of Christ.
God is calling an Esther generation to rise up and plead for mercy on behalf of others. Esther is the type of a Christian in this generation who says, \"My relationship with the king isn't what it used to be. We've kind of cooled off. As a matter of a fact, He hasn't even been speaking to me recently.\" Esther knew that when we go towards the king it could cost us our lives. Our prayer is, \"Not my will, but thine,\" realizing that if we fully embrace the will of God, it could be an unpleasant experience for us. But in that place of being abandoned to the will of God, for the sake of others, Esther found favor and wisdom from heaven. In that place, she found the power to re-write the law of death into the law of life. That, I believe, is what the king had always been looking for.
You and I are called to more than Sunday religion, we're called to reign with Christ. If you and I are willing to pray, if we're willing to put our lives; our freedom, everything we are behind that prayer, God once again, can put into our hands the power to re-write a season of death into a season of life.","sm_jpg":"47564_jb_20160731.jpg","sm_date":"2016-11","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/07\/31s1\/20160731s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/07\/31s1\/20160731s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"bZdxTKuTj8E","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47706_sermon-newsletter-201611-a-cry-at-the-kings-gate.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?<\/em>\" (Esther 4:13–14).<\/p>\n

This well-known verse came as a challenge from a man named Mordecai to his cousin Esther, who had recently been made queen. However, have you ever taken the time to think about this regarding your own life? Do you realize that there is no happenstance with God—that He is in control of all things from beginning to end—and He chose to have you and me born into this world, at this time, for a divine purpose?<\/p>\n

As we take a moment to look at the story of Esther, I believe we will gain a greater understanding of our own responsibility in this hour. The Bible tells us that Esther was brought into proximity to the king for a purpose she did not initially understand. Nevertheless, as a new bride, Esther frequently began meeting with the king and learning her new role.<\/p>\n

Similarly, when you and I turned to God, we were born again and brought into proximity to the King of kings. We were forgiven, covered with a beautiful garment of righteousness, and allowed access to God. As new believers in Christ, we, too, learned to meet with God—praying, studying the Bible, going to church, adapting to our new responsibilities. After a while, everything tends to go on fairly routinely—sometimes for a long time.<\/p>\n

Unfortunately, the tragedy of it all is that the human tendency is to not only become familiar with something but to grow bored with it over time. We become bored with prayer, bored with going to church. It is the reason so many marriages fall apart. The couple starts out passionately in love, only to end up becoming distant. Or when people start a new job, they may begin by boasting about it, yet after five years, they are constantly looking at their watch. It is something in the fallen nature of all of us.<\/p>\nNEWS OF A CRY<\/span>\n

Esther went on, and while I am sure it was a wonderful beginning, something happened over time: She began to grow more and more distant from the king. Meanwhile, news of a cry at the king's gate came to her one day.<\/p>\n

\"When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went as far as the front of the king's gate, for no one might enter the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province where the king's command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes<\/em>\" (Esther 4:1–3).<\/p>\n

This cry was essentially saying, \"Help us, Esther! We are not clothed in the royal robes that have been given to you; we are not allowed access to the king as you are. We can cry, but only from a distance! Esther, don't leave us behind. Though you think you may be able to escape because of where you are, we cannot escape this sentence of death that is permeating our streets and our culture. Remember that you are the one who has access to the king! Don't forsake us!\"<\/p>\n

In our day, this represents the cry that is arising as the law of sin and death seemingly advances unabated throughout society-destroying homes, minds, and even children in their mother's womb. It is the cry of our youth who have no direction; it is the cry of the single parent who does not know where provision will come from; it is the cry of one contemplating suicide because he does not see a future. People in our generation are trying to cry out to God, but they can get only so close. They do not have access to the throne of the King as we do!<\/p>\n

So what was Esther's response to this cry? \"Esther's maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them<\/em>\" (Esther 4:4).<\/p>\n

I believe there must have been an inkling in Esther's heart, just as there is in many of ours today, that she was being led toward a purpose far deeper than she could naturally see or understand. If you are walking with God, you likely hear these inner whispers that seem too preposterous to believe. Yet somehow you can sense that God has a purpose and plan that is far beyond what you think you are capable of accomplishing. However, just like Esther tried to put a different set of garments on Mordecai, you and I often try to push these whispers away and give them another appearance so that we can remain in our comfort zone.<\/p>\n

The Bible goes on to tell us that \"Esther called Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was...Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai<\/em>\" (Esther 4:5–9).<\/p>\nA BRIDE WHO RULES AND REIGNS<\/span>\n

Esther then sent this word back to Mordecai: \"All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days<\/em>\" (Esther 4:11).<\/p>\n

Perhaps Esther felt unlovely and undesired. She may have wondered in her heart, \"Is there some flaw in me that has caused the king to draw back? Sure, I could have made a difference before, but how can I do anything now? I have not heard him say, 'I love you,' in such a long time. Mordecai could not have come to the gate at a worse time!\"<\/p>\n

Sometimes as believers in Christ, we, too, can feel helpless, unlovely, and unwanted. Esther is a type of Christian in this generation who objects to the call on his or her life. \"But you don't understand! You see, my relationship with the King is not what it used to be. Things have cooled off. He has not even been speaking to me recently. You should have come to me fifteen years ago when my relationship with God was hot. I was at every prayer meeting; I heard His voice every day! It was a powerful love relationship, but now I don't even know how to approach the King!\"<\/p>\n

Nevertheless, despite the initial reservations in her heart, Esther ended up doing what all of us ought to do: She found some friends who would fast and pray with her. Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: \"Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!<\/em>\" (Esther 4:16).<\/p>\n

Esther had finally come to a point where she was no longer seeking her own provision or safety. Rather, she was going to the throne for the sake of people who were under a law of death-fully aware that doing so could cost her her life.<\/p>\n

It was in that very place of being abandoned to the will of God that Esther found favor with the king, and she was granted her request. Ultimately, she was given the power to rewrite the law of death into a law of life, enabling the people of God to stand up and gain the victory that was theirs. Esther essentially became co-ruler with her husband, which had been unheard of in the Medo-Persian Empire!<\/p>\nOUR SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY<\/span>\n

In the same way, you and I are called to more than Sunday religion! We are called to reign with Christ. He is looking to you and me as His Church in this generation, saying, \"I want something deeper from you! I do not want you to simply come in and tell Me that you love Me. I am looking for a partnership. I am looking for a Bride who will rule and reign with Me, not just in eternity, but in this lifetime as well.\"<\/p>\n

Psalm 149 says it this way: \"Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; and He will beautify the humble with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute on them the written judgment–This honor have all His saints<\/em>\" (verses 2–9).<\/p>\n

The psalmist is saying, \"If only those who belong to God would understand the spiritual authority that they have.\" If only we would remember that \"the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled<\/em>\" (2 Corinthians 10:4–6). As the verse says, we have this authority \"when our obedience is fulfilled\"—or, in other words, when we have chosen the ways of God; when we have decided to no longer sit on the sidelines as an observer, watching as a whole generation is swallowed up in death.<\/p>\n

It is important that you and I make this decision now, for we are standing at a critical juncture. We are in danger, as a society, of losing our freedom of religion and speech. There are godless elements in this nation that are emboldened to pursue their full agenda: the destruction of everything that represents God and holiness. It is a sober moment indeed.<\/p>\n

Therefore, I implore you to take seriously the cry at the King's gate now. Let's go in; let's ask God to do something in us that will enable us to rewrite the law of death for somebody else into a law of life. Let's ask God for unselfish hearts that truly care about the souls around us.<\/p>\n

Remember, there cannot be a spiritual awakening without prayer, and prayer will not be effective as long as it is self-focused. The people who will have an impact on this generation are those who will go to the throne of God, taking their authority as the Bride of Christ, unafraid of throwing their life in with their prayers. It will be those who say, \"Lord, You told us that we are going to rule and reign with You for all of eternity. But You have also given us power now to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. You said that nothing would by any means hurt us. You have not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. Therefore, if I perish, I perish! I refuse to sit on the sidelines and give this generation over to darkness! I am going to pray the prayers of someone who rules and reigns with Christ!\"<\/p>\n

Perhaps it has been your desire to walk in this boldness and authority, yet you, like Esther once did, cannot help but feel like an unlovely and unwanted bride today. However, I would like you to consider the possibility that the distance you are feeling is because God is calling you to something deeper. I love how it is written in the Song of Solomon, which I have always believed to be a type of Christ and His Church: The Bridegroom says, \"O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely<\/em>\" (Song of Solomon 2:14). In other words, \"Oh, my beloved bride who is still hidden, who has found refuge in something that falls short of what I have for you, do not be silent anymore! Do not buy the lie of the devil that I do not want to see you at My throne!\"<\/p>\n

Esther ultimately made the choice to approach the throne of the king and petition him for mercy, and she was granted her request. How much more will the King of kings be merciful if we ask? Remember, the Lord has chosen you and me for such a time as this. Therefore, let's take courage and respond to the cry—and we will witness what it truly means to rule and reign with Christ!<\/p>"},"51":{"sm_title":"A Blind Church In A Miraculous Place","sm_id":"262","sm_desc":"March 13, 2016 - Don't sit in blindness on the side of the road, cry out to God for mercy and He will bring you into the fullness of your inheritance. Jesus is passing by and He is able to tear down every wall of impossibility. At the sound of your cry God will release you from captivity and bring you into His supernatural life.","sm_jpg":"46898_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-10","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/03\/13s1\/20160313s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/03\/13s1\/20160313s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"paExruBjgNM","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47659_sermon-newsletter-201610-a-blind-church-in-a-miraculous-place.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!' So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, 'What do you want Me to do for you?' He said, 'Lord, that I may receive my sight.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.' And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God<\/em>\" (Luke 18:35-43).<\/p>\n

This incredible scene where Jesus healed a blind man occurred in the vicinity of a place called Jericho-a site of both historic and spiritual significance to the people of God in that generation. It was at Jericho that their ancestors followed through with their decision to be spiritually separated from their former places of captivity (see Joshua 1:16). A generation had failed and died in unbelief in the wilderness, but Joshua was about to bring the next generation through into this incredible place of promise.<\/p>\n

It was also at Jericho that Joshua had an encounter with the preincarnate Christ. \"It came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, 'Are You for us or for our adversaries?' So He said, 'No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, 'What does my Lord say to His servant?' Then the Commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, 'Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy'<\/em>\" (Joshua 5:13-15).<\/p>\n

In other words, \"I do not want your strength; I do not want your ingenuity or your plans. This is a holy place. You are to listen to Me and do it My way if you want to know the victory I am willing to give you.\"<\/p>\n

Jericho was a place of impossibility! Some historians say that the walls of the city were thirty feet high and twenty feet thick. In fact, the walls were thick enough to drive a chariot or a horse across the top. And so Jericho was considered by the people of that generation to be an invincible place. Nevertheless, the Lord promised Joshua, \"See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. Then it shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat<\/em>\" (Joshua 6:2-5).<\/p>\n

So the people did as they were instructed. When they shouted on the seventh day, the wall fell down flat, and they took the city (see Joshua 6:20).<\/p>\n

What an incredible history this place had! And now, as we fast forward many years to another generation, Jericho was still a place where the miraculous was possible. After all, the Promised Land was always meant to be a place of miracles. The people of God should have felt a sense of awe when they were in that city. Likewise, that is the way it should be for you and me today every time we open the Word of God. There should be a sense of awe, knowing that the promises in this Book are ours!<\/p>\nWHAT THE BLIND MAN SAW<\/span>\n

Let's take a moment to look once again at our opening Scripture: \"Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging<\/em>\" (Luke 18:35). Keep in mind that this was the same Jesus whom Joshua had encountered, now coming near Jericho again. You see, there are moments in history when Jesus passes by again-when He is determined to meet with His people and do the miraculous.<\/p>\n

This time, a blind man was sitting in the very place where the power of God had once before been displayed. However, this blind man had more than a thirty-foot high by twenty-foot thick wall before him-he had a veil of impenetrable darkness. The condition in his body was not going to change apart from a miracle. Yet, ironically, though he was blind, he began to see something that many people could not see at the moment. Isn't it amazing to think that there were so many people who had natural vision but no spiritual vision? They were a type of a blind church in a miraculous place.<\/p>\n

And so the blind man, hearing a multitude passing by, asked what it meant. This is a type of people in our society today who are saying, \"Those Christians are going down the street, meeting together in this place they call church...but what does it all mean? Why do they get together? What happens in that place? I want to know!\" You see, I believe a hunger for God is arising in the hearts of this generation.<\/p>\n

In response to the blind man's question, the people told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by (see Luke 18:37). Yet the irony of it all was that the agenda-driven church had no idea who was passing by; they had no idea that Jesus was willing to do the miraculous. I cannot help but wonder: Did this blind man remember the story of the incredible victory that once took place in Jericho? Did he hear about how there appeared a being from heaven who spoke to Joshua personally? Somehow he saw something, and he began to cry out, \"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me<\/em>\" (Luke 18:38).<\/p>\nRELIGION'S BLINDNESS<\/span>\n

\"Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet<\/em>\" (Luke 18:39). I believe this verse brings up an important question: Are we as the Church truly ready for a spiritual awakening? Remember, when God begins to touch people again, they will come into churches, and they will not know our programs or the songs that we sing. All they will know is that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, and they will be crying out for mercy!<\/p>\n

Yet sadly, in this scene the religious crowd had become so programmed that they could no longer recognize the cry that God wanted to answer. They did not even understand the reason why Jesus was there. He came to give sight to the blind, to open doors for the prisoners, to tell the poor about the treasure of heaven, to heal the brokenhearted, to release the captives. That was the ministry of Jesus Christ! But they had become such agenda-driven people that they could not see this purpose anymore, and so they told the blind man to be quiet.<\/p>\n

\"So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, 'What do you want Me to do for you?' He just said, 'Lord, that I may receive my sight'<\/em>\" (Luke 18:40-41). In other words, the blind man was saying, \"I want to see a promising future. I want to see Your glory manifested inside of my heart. I want to see a way out of my darkness and realize the divine purpose for my life. But even more than all of this, I just want to see You as the Son of God!\"<\/p>\n

\"Then Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight; your faith has made you well'<\/em>\" (Luke 18:42). And so we see that one more time, the \"walls\" of Jericho fell, and a blind man took the city! It is just as the prophet Isaiah said, \"The lame [will] take the prey<\/em>\" (Isaiah 33:23). The least expected in society will be the ones who will lay hold of the victory of God.<\/p>\n

The Bible goes on to tell us that \"immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God<\/em>\" (Luke 18:43). This is exactly what happens in a spiritual awakening. It happened in the book of Acts with the early Church. When the disciples came out of the Upper Room, they had fresh vision, and they spoke about the things that God was determined to do through His people. They were saying it with such glory and authority that three thousand people dropped their powerless religion and laid hold of a living relationship with God (see Acts 2).<\/p>\nA HUMBLE CRY<\/span>\n

I happen to believe that Jesus is passing by America one more, and perhaps one last, time. This is something that the Lord has been speaking to me for years now. And just as the blind man cried out, a spiritual awakening must always begin with a cry!<\/p>\n

As we see society deteriorating daily all around us, I can already hear that cry arising now-that cry for freedom. And when that cry comes into the hearts of the people, God answers. Psalm 107 tells us, \"And then they cry, and the Lord hears them and brings them out of their distresses. He brings them to their desired haven-to that which their heart has always longed for\" (see verses 28 and 30).<\/p>\n

Now that cry begins on a personal level, something I experienced in my own life. Many, many years ago in my marriage, I was an extremely selfish man. Selfishness would cause me to stubbornly hold my ground. My wife would try to talk to me about my faults, and I would reciprocate and point out all of hers.<\/p>\n

Yet finally one day, I just got fed up with the whole thing. We were sitting in the kitchen of our farmhouse when suddenly, out of my inmost being arose a deep cry. I was so desperate to be the man that I felt God wanted me to be. I had been reading in the Scriptures about giving myself for my wife as Christ gave Himself for His Church-how I should be leading, not pushing, my family. There was just so much that I had been reading in the Word that I realized I was not living.<\/p>\n

And so, as I sat in my chair, I started to cry out from the very depths of my gut. \"Oh, Jesus, if You will set me free from all of these things that I have become and give me the life that I know You promised me, I will live for You all the days of my life!\" And when that cry arose, suddenly a physical light came into the kitchen, touched me, and scared me to the point that I screamed. I was terrified and tried to pull away, but I could not. The light touched me in my eyes and went right through my body, setting me on my face on the floor, trembling and sweating. It was a Daniel moment in my life. Then I felt the voice of God telling me, \"Stand up. I want to speak to you.\" So I stood to my feet.<\/p>\n

My wife was in the kitchen the whole time, so she saw it all. She later told me that I had started quoting a psalm that she knew I did not know. \"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?<\/em>\" (Psalm 8:3-4). God met me, and I was set free! It was a major turning point in my life. That was when my heart truly began to change, and the Jericho walls in my life came crashing down.<\/p>\n

And so, this is the question each of us must consider today: Am I going to sit blindly by the side of the road, or will I humble myself and move forward, taking my rightful inheritance in Christ?<\/p>\n

Perhaps you have a Jericho stronghold in your life. It may have been there for a long time -something people told you that you are-an experience that you simply cannot escape. Maybe it is a voice constantly telling you that you will not go any further than where you are today.<\/p>\n

However, I remind you that Jesus is passing by once again, so do not be afraid to tell Him exactly what you need! Do not consider what the crowd is going to think or be afraid of the voices that are telling you to be quiet. Have the courage to believe and receive what God wants to give you. Be willing to humble yourself and cry out from an honest heart, \"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!\"<\/p>\n

Call out to God for your freedom, your strength, the hope that you need for the future. God will surely answer your cry and and give you the victory. He will open your blind eyes and give you spiritual vision, and you will be among those who take the city for His glory!<\/p>"},"52":{"sm_title":"And He Prayed Again","sm_id":"259","sm_desc":"We have become an instant society. We want to press a button and we want a picture to pop up. When we pray we want God to answer on our timetable, but God doesn't work like that. God answers in His time and in His way. In Luke Chapter 18, Jesus gave us a parable that men ought to always pray and not lose heart, to get the principle across that we may not see the answer to our prayer immediately, the way we want to see it.Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. The question is: when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? Will He have a people with the kind of faith that believes they have the answer though they don't see it, but choose to persist in prayer?","sm_jpg":"47492_jb_20160619s1.jpg","sm_date":"2016-09","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/06\/19s1\/20160619s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/06\/19s1\/20160619s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"OyhBAKHZ5nU","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47605_sermon-newsletter-201609-and-he-prayed-again.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Jesus once told a parable to illustrate the point that \"men ought always to pray and not lose heart<\/em>\" (Luke 18:1). In this parable, a widow continually came to an unjust judge or help, essentially saying, \"Someone is opposing me. I need you to avenge me now!\" We can infer from this illustration that this judge had the power to make a difference. Nevertheless, the answer did not seem to be coming. In fact, the more often the widow appeared before him, the worse the situation likely grew.<\/p>\n

Finally things took a turn for this widow. \"And [the judge] would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me'<\/em>\" (Luke 18:4-5).<\/p>\n

Jesus concluded the parable by saying, \"Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?<\/em>\" (Luke 18:6-7). In other words, God will fight for you if you call out to Him. He is not like this unjust judge; He is not going to draw back or refuse to answer you, even though it may seem as if He keeps putting you off.<\/p>\n

I believe many people today are close to losing heart, if they have not done so already. They have prayed for a specific situation, perhaps a family member or even some aspect of their own character to change, but the answer still has not come. However, we must remember that answers do not always come in the way or at the time we think they should. We want God to answer according to our schedule. We want our children saved today; we want this issue in our character done with yesterday; we want that annoying person in our office to be gone by morning!<\/p>\n

However, the Lord gave us this particular parable for a reason- to encourage us to keep praying and not to give up in the process. Jesus even added, \"I tell you that He will avenge them speedily\" (Luke 18:8). In other words, the decision to answer us when we pray will be made quickly.<\/p>\n■<\/span> GOD'S ANSWERTHROUGH MOSES<\/span>

The Bible gives us many examples of when God answered the prayers of His people, yet they did not see the answer immediately with their natural eyes. Consider, for instance, when the children of Israel were living as slaves for a season in Egypt. \"Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them<\/em>\" (Exodus 2:23-25).<\/p>\n

The people were essentially crying, \"God, help us! Do You not see what is happening? We are Your people, but we are being oppressed, ridiculed, mocked, and controlled. Didn't You say that we would be blessed and become a blessing to all those who are on the earth?\" And so a collective cry arose because of the incredible oppression. The Scripture says, \"God acknowledged them,\" meaning that He accepted them as His own people and answered their cry.<\/p>\n

\"And the Lord said [to Moses]: 'I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt'<\/em>\" (Exodus 3:7-10).<\/p>\n

Right at the moment when the people of Israel cried out, God could have snapped His fingers and opened the country's borders. He could have created an army out of nothing or sent angels to cause all of Egypt to die right on the spot. The Lord could have done it so many ways, but instead He chose a way that was probably not how the people would have wanted: He went out into the desert, found a man who was eighty years old, and called him.<\/p>\n

The point is that God had answered their cry, but the people simply did not see it yet. All the while, the answer was in progress through a man named Moses. However, God first had to deal with Moses and get him through his own unbelief. After that, Moses had to go to his father-in-law and ask for permission to leave, and then he had to convince his brother, Aaron, to go with him. Finally, he had to gather his family and set out on foot to the land of Egypt.<\/p>\n

Eventually Moses showed up in the camp of Israel, and he told the people the story of how God appeared to him in a burning bush. He explained the plan for him and Aaron to stand before Pharaoh, demanding their freedom. \"So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped<\/em>\" (Exodus 4:31). They believed!<\/p>\n

Yet even after they believed, things grew worse. Pharaoh essentially said to Moses and Aaron, \"You only want to go out into the wilderness to worship because you are lazy and do not have enough to do. Therefore, we will not give you straw to make your bricks anymore. You have to go out and gather your own straw, and do not let the tally of bricks diminish\" (see Exodus 5:17-18).<\/p>\n

So the children of Israel said to Moses and Aaron, \"Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us<\/em>\" (Exodus 5:21). Now all this had happened since the day they cried out to God. In reality, God was avenging His people speedily. However, things seemed to be getting worse, with hopelessness setting in more deeply than ever before. And right before the moment of the great deliverance, as the people's faith was beginning to fail, even Moses came back to God and started accusing Him, \"Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all<\/em>\" (Exodus 5:22-23).<\/p>\n

And so we can see why Jesus finished the parable of the widow and unjust judge by saying, \"I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?<\/em>\" (Luke 18:8). Will there be anybody left who still believes that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever?<\/p>\n■<\/span> ELIJAH: A MAN LIKE US<\/span>

Let's look at another example through the prophet Elijah. The Scripture describes Elijah as \"a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months<\/em>\" (James 5:17). He was a man \"with a nature like ours,\" meaning that he was not a superhuman being. Rather, he was an ordinary man who simply believed God and undertook the calling placed on his life with sincerity so that God would be honored and the people's hearts would turn back to Him.<\/p>\n

The book of First Kings shows us that Elijah prayed earnestly for a reason. In essence, he was crying out, \"Lord, whatever it takes, turn the hearts of the people back to You!\" So for three and a half years, all false comfort was taken away. You see, the people were satisfied as long as their cupboards were full; as long as everything looked good. So, what did God do in order to get the people back? In His mercy, He sent a drought and took it all away! He took their bread out of the cupboard; He took their crops out of the field. Suddenly, even the false prophets who had claimed that all these things would always abound were gone! When it seemed as if everything was coming to an end, God finally had the people's attention.<\/p>\n

There is always a moment when people's hearts are open to truth again-just like the hour in which we are living. There is a moment when people are weary of evil being paraded as good and good being cast down as evil; when people are tired of the confusion that is being forced upon their children. There is a moment when people begin to wonder, \"Where has statesmanship gone? Where are the leaders? What have we become?\" It is as if suddenly, as a society, we have become exposed and must consider what we truly are.<\/p>\n

It was in a time such as this that Elijah prayed again. He prayed after the drought-after the people knew that what they had been trusting in was of no lasting value. This time Elijah was praying for the blessing of God to come down upon the people, for he saw that their hearts were beginning to turn toward the Lord again. We see in 1 Kings 18:42-43 that he bowed very low as seven times he prayed and seven times he sent out a servant, saying, \"Go take a look at the horizon and tell me what you see.\" Thank God that Elijah did not give up after the third time or the fourth time, or how different history would be!<\/p>\n

\"Then it came to pass the seventh time, that [the servant] said, 'There is a cloud, as small as a man's hand, rising out of the sea!'<\/em>\" (1 Kings 18:44). Because Elijah chose to press in and persevere, heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.<\/p>\n■<\/span> WILL HE FIND FAITH?<\/span>

Just as Elijah did, you and I must learn to persevere in prayer, particularly in this dark hour. Yet, unfortunately, we have become such an instant society that many of us have lost an understanding of that old-fashioned concept that was part of the church for two thousand years: pressing in until the answer is made manifest.<\/p>\n

And so again we must consider the question that Jesus posed: \"When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?<\/em>\" (Luke 18:8). Will He find the kind of faith that believes Him for situations that seem impossible in the natural? Will He find the kind of faith that believes it has the answer and does not give up until it is fully seen-the kind that says, \"I will not let go of my sons and daughters. I will not let go of my grandchildren. I will not let go of my marriage, even though it looks hopeless!\"<\/p>\n

When the Son of Man comes, will He find somebody who still believes that there can be a revival in the United States? Will He find somebody who believes that the same God who brought a spiritual awakening to New York City in 1857, sweeping thousands into His kingdom, can do something even greater? Will He find those who say, \"Lord, I believe, despite what my eyes see all around me. I believe because we are crying out to You-not just for ourselves, but for the testimony of Your name in this generation. We are crying out for children who are being told that You do not exist; we are crying out because perversion has multiplied itself in our streets and on our airways. But You went to a cross so that all might be forgiven, and You told us that whatever things we pray for, believing, we shall receive. Therefore, I am asking You for an outpouring of forgiveness in this nation - in my city, my home, among my friends, and in my workplace! I know that You have answered me, and I am going to keep coming and pressing in until I see it with my own eyes!\"<\/p>\n

Oh, if ever there was a time to pray, it is now! We must press in and pray, and then we must pray again. And if we do not give up, one day we will see with our own eyes what we have believed in our hearts!<\/p>"},"53":{"sm_title":"A Picture Of Hope","sm_id":"257","sm_desc":"April 10, 2016 - God is calling his people to separate form all that weakens them. Jesus wants to set your heart on Calvary's Hill and light your life with the power of His Holy Spirit. We must choose to let our life be a picture of light for those who are choosing darkness. You are the light of the world and the final hope for this generation.","sm_jpg":"47003_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-08","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/04\/10s1\/20160410s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/04\/10s1\/20160410s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"J8lpHQBGVbw","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47571_sermon-newsletter-201608-a-picture-of-hope.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\nWhen a society becomes so bonded to sin that the people are no long able to hear the warnings of God, the Lord begins to show them two things: First, the reasons why the coming judgment is justified, and second, what the future without merciful intervention will look like.\n<\/p>\n

\nA textbook case of this can be found in the book of Ezekiel when the Babylonian Empire invaded and began the destruction of Jerusalem. At that time, God decided to make the prophet Ezekiel a final illustrated picture to a nation that would soon be taken fully captive. Sadly, His people had become so hardened that they could not hear God's Word anymore. Those who were already taken captive had plenty of false prophets to reinforce their erroneous viewpoint that the captivity was only temporary. As for the people who remained in Jerusalem, they also mistakenly believed that the city of God could not possibly be conquered-despite their lifestyles that clearly exhibited a rejection of God.\n<\/p>\n

\n■<\/span> A FINAL WARNING<\/span>
\n It is important for you and me to be aware of what happened in history so that we can understand our place at this moment in time. We could very well be living in the final stage of America as we have known it. There is a captivity taking place right now in our society-one that is happening very swiftly. Of course, there are still voices saying, \"Well, this is only temporary; it is all going to be behind us soon. The best is just ahead of us!\"\n<\/p>\n

\nThat is exactly what they were saying in Ezekiel's day; therefore, these were the Lord's instructions to him: \"Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house. Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight. You shall go from your place into captivity to another place in their sight. It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house. By day you shall bring out your belongings in their sight, as though going into captivity; and at evening you shall go in their sight, like those who go into captivity. Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry your belongings out through it. In their sight you shall bear them on your shoulders and carry them out at twilight; you shall cover your face, so that you cannot see the ground\"<\/em> (Ezekiel 12:2-6). In other words, \"Ezekiel, I want you to gather your belongings and dig a hole in the wall. I want you to show the people that they will enter a time of shame. All their bravado and talk about rebuilding will come to nothing. The people are going to be taken into captivity with their faces bowed toward the ground.\"\n<\/p> \n

\n<\/p>\"Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: \"This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are among them.\"' And say, 'I am a sign to you. As I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall be carried away into captivity.' And the prince who is among them shall bear his belongings on his shoulder at twilight and go out. They shall dig through the wall to carry them out through it. He shall cover his face, so that he cannot see the ground with his eyes...Say to them, 'The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision. For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it,' says the Lord God\"<\/em> (Ezekiel 12:10-12; 23-25).\n<\/p>\n

\nIn other words, the captivity was going to be from the greatest to the least; nobody would be able to escape what God was about to do.\n<\/p>\n

\nYou see, when any nation has determined to pursue sin and cast away the Word of God, the Lord, being righteous in judgment, will set a picture before them so that they may see what they have become. It is as if God is saying, \"Because you will not listen to Me, I cannot warn you or cause you to turn from the course you are on. Therefore, before I judge you, I will show you a picture of what you are.\"\n<\/p>\n

\n■<\/span> ONE HOPEFUL SIGN<\/span>
\nRemember, we know how God deals with nations by studying the way He has dealt with them in the past. Unfortunately, I do not see much difference between our present society and that of Ezekiel's time. We have done violence to the Word and ways of God. As wonderful as our country's history has been, we will not be the exception when it comes to God's judgment.\n<\/p>\n

\nHowever, we can still take heart, for I do believe we have been given a window of opportunity in this hour. According to the Scriptures, there remains one final and hopeful sign as long as there are those who can still hear and consider their ways: \"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven\"<\/em> (Matthew 5:14-16). Notice that the passage begins with the word \"you\"! You are the one final and hopeful sign for this generation. Not some new preacher, not some fancy church-you! You are the one whom God will put on a lampstand in order to give light to all who are in the house. You are the one who will be enabled by God, if you choose, to do things that only He can do. If you will let Him separate you from all that weakens you, you will be as a city set on a hill-that hill being Calvary!\n<\/p>\n

\n■<\/span> THE PICTURE OF PAUL<\/span>
\nConsider the picture in the Book of Acts when the Apostle Paul was taken on a journey at sea. He had tried to warn the people of the danger ahead, saying, \"Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives\"<\/em> (Acts 27:10). However, they refused to listen and relegated Paul to the belly of the ship among the prisoners. It was not long before a storm arose-one so fierce that they put up the sails and had no choice but to cast themselves to the wind.\n<\/p>\n

\nThis sounds a lot like our generation, a type of society that says, \"Listen, we do not want to hear your warnings. We only want to hear of the good that is coming our way!\" We no longer have any direction. We do not know the difference between what is right and what is wrong, what is moral and what is immoral. Casting off all restraint, we are now being driven by the fickle thoughts of men that change from week to week. \n<\/p>\n

\nThe Bible tells us that the storm finally reached a point where everything seemed to be falling apart, and they went many days without light (see Acts 27:20). Down in the bottom of that ship, there must have been a cry in Paul's heart, \"God, I don't know if I can take this anymore. I don't want to hear the news of what is going on above deck-how fierce the storm is or what new strategy they are coming up with to get us through.\" Perhaps recently you have been experiencing a similar fight in your mind. We are living in a very dark hour, and it has caused you to sigh and groan over the state of our society. You are reluctant to even turn on the news anymore.\n<\/p>\n

\nYet Paul, in the midst of it all, began to pray. And when he prayed, God began to speak to his heart and show him a future. Suddenly, somebody on deck must have called for him. I suspect it was the captain of the ship asking, \"Where is that man who warned us not to take this journey? He claimed to have heard from God. I want to hear from him one more time!\"\n<\/p>\n\n

\nYou see, Paul was a man whose heart was set upon a hill. Paul was set on being given for the sake of others, not living for his own comfort or his own survival. And so, in that last moment of time, when the people would not hear the word of God, the Lord was able to place on the deck of that ship a picture-a picture of what we can become when Christ is at the core of who we are and why we exist. It was a picture of hope expressed through a confident, surrendered man.\t\n<\/P>\n

\nPaul essentially told them, \"Be of good cheer, for I have a word from God. If you listen to this word, we are all going to make it. The ship is going to perish, but not one hair of your head will be lost!\" (see Acts 27:22-24). Paul saw something that natural men could not see: He saw a future when everything was falling apart. He saw what God was able to do!\t\n<\/p>\n

\nImagine the scene: The people are hanging on to the railing-all their plans and hopes for the future gone. Yet, standing right in the middle of them is this man with half a loaf of bread in each hand, lifting his eyes to heaven and giving thanks (see Acts 27:35). He is standing there as a picture of what it looks like when one's confidence is in God-how there is always a hope and a future though everything around may appear to be lost.\t\n<\/p>\n

\nI love the fact that simply because Paul's heart was set upon a hill, the light of God was in him, and he became the one giving the orders! The soldiers were going to try to escape in the lifeboats, but Paul instructed them to cut the boats off. The only possible escape route would be through God! And so everybody was now dependent on the word from God that was coming through this one man. They were drawn to that final picture that was set before them-a picture of who God is and what He is able to do. And they all were given a future and a chance at eternal life. I do not know how many of them took it, but at least they were given a chance. I have to believe that there were some in that crowd who concluded, \"Whoever Paul's God is, is God. The kind of vision and strength that he has found is what I want!\"\t\n<\/p>\n

\n■<\/span> YOU ARE A PICTURE<\/span>
\n You and I must learn to stand just as Paul did, for not only is a day of great calamity coming, there are already people full of anxiety and fear all around. There are kids out on the street who have no fathers, no mothers, no direction; they do not know the reason for life. There are people in your apartment building and people across from you at your workplace whose whole lives are falling apart, yet they will not open a Bible. You can put a tract on their desk, but they will not read it. You see, we have come to the point where argument will no longer persuade people. They do not care what you believe. What people in our society are looking for is reality. \"Don't tell me about your Jesus-show me your Jesus!\" And so the only alternative now is that we become a visible demonstration-a picture of who God is and what He can do; a picture of all that He promises; a picture of true worship; a picture of morality; a picture of fearlessness; a picture of what it looks like to have a heart for other people!\n<\/p>\n

\nSometimes that picture will be formed in the midst of your own struggle or trial. Perhaps there will be times when you will have to remind yourself, \"The Lord prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. My cup overflows with confidence in God. Everything may not be the way I would like it, but I know that everything is the way God has destined it to be. He will keep me; He will put light in my eyes and passion in my heart. He will light this lamp of His Holy Spirit inside of me and set me up on a lampstand. He will put courage in my heart and do impossible works through my life, causing people to be convinced that only God could have done this!\"\n<\/p>\n

\nRemember that the Lord said to Ezekiel, \"The people have become hardened to My words, but when they see you, Ezekiel, it is possible that they may consider.\" In the same way, as you allow the Lord to make your life a final picture of hope, I believe many in this generation will be called out of darkness into God's marvelous light!\n<\/p>"},"54":{"sm_title":"A Day When Many Walked Away From Jesus","sm_id":"255","sm_desc":"April 24, 2016 - Jesus is the bread of life, He came down from heaven not to do His own will but to do the will of His Father. Don't walk away from Jesus to go your own way and do your own will. If you want to be truly satisfied in this life, make the choice to pray, \"not my will but thine be done.\" After you make that choice, prepare to be sent and supplied with supernatural power.","sm_jpg":"47025_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-07","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/04\/24s1\/20160424s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/04\/24s1\/20160424s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"HFrPxgHl7xQ","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47510_sermon-newsletter-201607-a-day-when-many-walked-away-from-jesus.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\nIn his letters to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul describes the season just prior to the return of Christ as one of great darkness and difficulty-one that will test the fiber of every believer. A world-wide rebellion will be launched against all that is of God. Many false prophets will arise and alternate Christs will be presented to the point where, if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. Paul warns them, \"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first\"<\/em> (2 Thessalonians 2:3).\n<\/p>\n

\nWhat is this great \"falling away\" that Paul spoke of? First of all, it is important to note that you cannot fall away from something that you were not once close to or at least marginally embracing. This means that Paul was referring to those who were at some point following the Lord-making the warning even more relevant for you and me today. Therefore, we would be wise to take the time to understand what this falling away is and why it happens.\n<\/p>\n

\n■<\/span> A FALLING AWAY<\/span>
\n In the book of John, we find a clear example, summed up in a single verse: \"From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more\"<\/em> (John 6:66). Before we look at what exactly caused many of Jesus' disciples to turn away, it is important to note that earlier in the chapter, it says that \"a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased\" <\/em>(John 6:2). Many people initially began to follow Jesus with great enthusiasm, drawn by the evidence of what He was doing in the lives of other people. In fact, that is why most people are drawn to Christ in the first place-perhaps through a testimony or by witnessing a changed life.\n<\/p>\n

\nSoon after this, the Bible tells us that \"Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, 'Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.' Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, 'This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.' Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again to the mountain to Himself alone\"<\/em> (John 6:11-15).\n<\/p> \n

\nInterestingly, there was no talk of making Jesus king until the people saw that their bellies could be filled by the power of God! They were not interested in making Him king when He healed a leper or touched a blind man. However, when the crowd saw that Jesus could make bread out of nothing, suddenly it was as if everybody got a vision of how wonderful their brand-new, bread-filled lives could be!\n<\/p>\n

\nPerhaps they began to believe this was a way to escape the curse that Adam brought into the world when he sinned against God. Remember that in the Garden of Eden, the Lord said to Adam, \"Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return\"<\/em> (Genesis 3:17-19). The people knew there was a reason why they had to toil and labor all of their lives. But now there was somebody in their midst who could make bread with no sweat!\n<\/p>\n

\nI can imagine these people suddenly embracing a new vision: \"I don't have to work anymore! I can just make bread by speaking it into existence. I can sell some on the roadside or even send my kids out to do it!\" In light of this, we find the temptation that Jesus had undergone in the wilderness to be very pertinent. Satan came to Jesus and said, \"If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread\"<\/em> (Matthew 4:3). In other words, \"You claim that You have come to redeem humankind and break the curse of sin. If that is true, then command these stones to turn into bread. Break the curse of sin on this world by supernaturally creating bread to fill Your own belly. Use Your authority for Yourself!\"\n<\/p>\n

\nYet Jesus responded, \"It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God\"<\/em> (Matthew 4:4). He was saying, \"My Father has a divine purpose that He has spoken over My life, and that purpose will be fulfilled by yielding to Him, not by living to satisfy My own desires.\" Jesus did not give in to the temptation. Yet, sadly, that was not the case for many of His disciples.\n<\/p>\n

\n■<\/span> GIVE US BREAD!<\/span>
\nAfter Jesus had multiplied the loaves and fish and the people were ready to make Him king, the Scriptures tell us, \"When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus\"<\/em> (John 6:24). They were zealous in seeking Him, just like many Christians are today. If some were to hear that God was doing something supernatural in Baltimore, they would be on the next plane. However, zeal does not always mean truth. Many false prophets are going to arise in our generation who will be full of enthusiasm and passion. But zeal is not a substitute for the calling of God that He is placing on each of our lives.\n<\/p>\n

\n\"And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him,'Rabbi, when did You come here?' Jesus answered them and said, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled'\" <\/em>(John 6:25-26). In other words, \"You are no longer seeking Me for the things that initially drew you. When you first came, you saw Me doing miracles on other people. However, now you are seeking Me only because your belly was filled, and you saw that the power of God could meet your own needs.\"\n<\/p>\n

\nJesus continued, \"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him\"<\/em> (John 6:27). But the people, still after bread, never really get off the topic. They asked Jesus in response, \"What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?\"<\/em> (John 6:28). In other words, what they really were asking was, \"How can we make bread supernaturally?\"\n<\/p>\n

\n\"Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent'\"<\/em> (John 6:29). He was saying, \"The work of God is that you look beyond your own needs and realize that there is a divine purpose for your life. It is a purpose that can be fulfilled only by following Me as I go to a cross-by yielding yourself for the sake of others.\"\n<\/p>\n

\nThey said to Jesus, \"What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat'\"<\/em> (John 6:30-31). Isn't that amazing? They were still after bread! When Jesus seemed to be dodging their request, they went right back to it again, saying, \"Well, give us a sign, just like God did when He gave His people bread in the wilderness. Make some more bread!\"\n<\/p>\n

\n\"Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' Then they said to Him, 'Lord, give us this bread always'\"<\/em> (John 6:32-34). \"We want more bread! Fill us, prosper us, make us healthy, and take away all poverty. Give us the power to speak away our troubles so that we can breeze through this life, free from the curse of sin and always satisfied!\"\n<\/p>\n

\n Things began to take a turn as Jesus went on to speak something that the people did not want to hear: \"I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst\"<\/em> (John 6:35). Jesus was explaining to them, \"You are looking for physical bread, but it will not satisfy; it will not give you true strength. You need something more. There is a deeper calling, and with that deeper calling comes divine provision beyond just food in your cupboard and a good job. I am that provision; I am the bread that the Father has sent down from heaven. If you are willing to partake of Me, your hunger will truly be satisfied. You will enter the calling of God and be met with His provision to accomplish it.\" \n<\/p>\n

\n\"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me\"<\/em> (John 6:38). And this is that calling of God: \"Just as I came down to this world, not to be served but to serve, I am sending you out. I am not sending you out to garner and satisfy your own desires; I am sending you out as emissaries of the One who went to a cross and gave His life so that all who believe in Him might have everlasting life.\"\n<\/p>\n

\nAt that point, the Bible tells us that \"the Jews then complained about Him, because He said, 'I am the bread which came down from heaven'\"<\/em> (John 6:41). I can just hear the complaining beginning: \"We are here for bread, but He is trying to draw us to Himself. We are ready to make Him our king, but shouldn't a king be solely focused on meeting the needs of subjects as loyal as we are?\" Essentially, this was the deal they wanted to make with Jesus: You give us bread; You give us the power to escape all our trials; You give us authority and provision; You do things our way, and we will make You king. But do not talk to us about needing something more!\"\n<\/p>\n

\nOf course, their reaction did not stop Jesus from continuing in truth, \"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven-not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever\"<\/em> (John 6:53-58).\n<\/p>\n

\nAnd so the people were offended. It was at this point that many turned and walked away, for it was a message that did not appeal to them. It does not mean they abandoned religion; they simply walked with Jesus no more. They went back to trying to find another way to make bread, abandoning the One who was the Living Bread.\n<\/p>\n

\n■<\/span> THE CALLING OF GOD<\/span>
\n On the other hand, to those who could hear, Jesus was explaining, \"Here is My purpose: My life is to be given for all humanity, and you are called to follow Me. Yet, unless you partake of the victory that I am about to win for you, letting My blood cover you; unless you come with a fully yielded heart, desiring to live for Me, you will not be able to fulfill the calling that is before you.\" It is the life yielded to the purposes of God that knows the true satisfaction of God. However, this calling is so deep that we need the Holy Spirit in order to hear and yield to it. Jesus Himself said, \"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him\" <\/em>(John 6:44). We all need the grace of God to respond, for everything in our fallen nature will resist this calling and instead drive us to continue pursuing our own bread and comfort. That is why so many powerless churches have been raised in this nation, with false prophets leading people to an easier path than the one that God has ordained for us. Sadly, they will soon find that what they have been seeking will not be sufficient to get them through the days that we are all going to face, and many will fall away.\n<\/p>\n

\nBut take comfort, for Jesus continued in that same verse, \"and I will raise him up at the last day\"<\/em> (John 6:44). And so as we are living in the last days, this ought to be our heart's cry: \"Oh, God, draw me to Yourself and raise me up! Deliver me from self-focus. Deliver me from simply reading the Bible to see what I can get for my own belly. Help me to look beyond living for myself. Help me to be willing to yield my own plans and dreams to Your call on my life. Put a supernatural love in my heart for the lost, and give me the strength to reach out to those all around me who need help.\"\n<\/p>\n

\nMake no mistake about it-living for the purposes of God and the benefit of others will not be easy, particularly as the days grow darker. However, as we ask Him, God will allow us to partake of this bread of heaven. He will give us vision, life, direction, power and purpose-and we will discover what it means to live a life that is truly satisfying!<\/p>"},"55":{"sm_title":"When The Only Prayers You Have Left Are Tears","sm_id":"254","sm_desc":"February 14, 2016 - This message is for those who go to pray and all you can do is weep because of a deep sense of failure. In the midst of you failure God will come to you and say peace. Jesus is not offended by our weakness, He will give us His peace and strength. When this season is over you will be empowered to strengthen others.","sm_jpg":"46848_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-06","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/02\/14s1\/20160214s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/02\/14s1\/20160214s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"CG85HCXhLN8","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47143_sermon-newsletter-201606-when-the-only-prayers-you-have-left-are-tears.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Have you found lately that when you go to pray, all you can do is weep? I am not referring to tears of gratitude or joy but rather the type of tears that stem from a deep, inner sorrow. It could be due to a sense of failure or unworthiness. Perhaps you walked with God at one time but ended up walking away and doing things you should not have done. Or maybe you once believed that you would make a difference in this society, but as you look at your life, you feel as if your walk with God has resulted in very little good being done. And now, every time you get down on your knees to pray, you have nothing left to say. All you can do is weep. <\/p>\n \n

\n If this sounds familiar, I believe you will find comfort in the life of the apostle Peter. The book of Luke recounts a moment when Peter \"went out and wept bitterly\"<\/span> (Luke 22:62). It was during a season he never thought would come to his life: a season of anger and misunderstanding. <\/p>\n \n

\nLet's first take a moment to consider how Peter's walk with Jesus began. The Bible tells us that Jesus was walking down a certain shore when He saw Peter and his brother, Andrew, fishing. At His invitation, Peter and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed Him (see Matthew 4:18-20).<\/p>\n \n

\n If you are a believer in Christ, you, too, have left something in order to follow Him-perhaps an old relationship or a practice you were involved in; a path you thought your life should take, or a career you believed would satisfy you. Yet you walked away from it because you felt that God was calling you to something deeper. You knew it would be something that would make a difference-not just for you but for your family and those around you. <\/p>\n \n

\nThe book of Matthew goes on to tell us that Peter, along with the other disciples, was given power to go out and proclaim the message of freedom and deliverance and to heal those who were sick (see Matthew 10:1). In the same way, you and I have been called to be ambassadors of freedom and healing. We can help people in their time of illness-whether mental or physical. Even just one word has the potential to make a huge difference.<\/p>\n\n

■<\/span> DIVINE REVELATION<\/span>
\nAt one point in his life, Peter got out of a boat and walked on water (see Matthew 14:29). By faith, he stepped out and began to see that the impossibilities of life become possible when you follow God's calling. I am sure you have discovered this as well. For instance, perhaps in the past you did not have the power to speak the truth, but because God's voice was calling you, you were given supernatural strength and ability. <\/p>\n \n

\nIn the next chapter of Matthew, we see that Peter had an incredible thirst for learning (see Matthew 15:15). Jesus was speaking a profound truth, and Peter-whose voice always seemed to be the first in, whether rightly or wrongly-essentially said, \"Explain this to us! I want to understand.\" This is the type of person who comes to church, opens his Bible and says, \"God, I want You to speak to me. I want to know truth and walk in it!\" <\/p>\n \n

\nThe Scriptures go on to tell us, \"When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?' So they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God'\"<\/span> (Matthew 16:13-16). In other words, \"You are the promised One! You are the One who has come to set us free. You are the One who is going to establish a kingdom on earth that will never end-a kingdom of truth and righteousness.\" <\/p>\n \n\n

\nJesus said to him, \"You are blessed, Peter, because you did not get this through flesh and blood, but My Father in heaven revealed this to you\" (see Matthew 16:17). In other words, \"You have laid hold of a truth that humanity in itself is incapable of understanding.\" I thank God that there is a point in every believer's life when we truly get the revelation that Jesus is the Christ: He is the One who gives life, the One who redeems, the One who translates us out of darkness and calls us His own. <\/p>\n \n

\n Shortly after that, Jesus looked at Peter, singled him out because of the revelation that was in his heart, and said, \"You are Peter, and upon this rock<\/span> [the revelation that he had], I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it\" <\/span>(Matthew 16:18). People who understand this truth that Peter understood will discover that no matter what hell throws against them, it will not prevail. When they pray, the gates of hell will not be able to withstand their prayers. <\/p>\n\n

■<\/span> PETER'S WEAKNESS<\/span>
\nIn the seventeenth chapter of Matthew, we see that Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain. It was there that the inner glory of God that was in Jesus literally burst forth, and Peter saw Him in all His glory. He also saw Moses and Elijah, who were long dead, now alive and speaking with Jesus about His coming death in Jerusalem (see Matthew 17:1-4). <\/p>\n \n

\nThe whole package was there: The divine nature of Christ, His power to keep even that which had died, and a glorious plan for the future. Peter saw it all! Yet with all the revelation that had been given to him, Peter had a weakness that we, too, must watch for: He became so knowledgeable that he began to tell even Jesus how the future should unfold. <\/p>\n \n

\n Jesus was telling His disciples, \"The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. They are going to put Me to death, and on the third day, I am going to rise again.\" At that point, Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke the Lord! \"No! This is not the way it is going to go\" (see Matthew 16:22). <\/p>\n \n

\nThat is the danger for those of us who have walked with God for a season. Soon we get so smart that we start telling God how the future should progress. \"This is what my future should look like; this is what You are going to do for me.\" We must remember that His ways are higher than our ways; His plans are higher than our plans!<\/p>\n \n

\nFurthermore, Peter also began to boast of his own strength. Jesus was telling them that the Shepherd was going to be smitten and all the sheep scattered. Yet Peter insisted, \"Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never stumble! I am not a novice on this journey. You can trust me, Lord\" (see Matthew 26:33). <\/p>\n \n

\nIt is clear that Peter was not listening to what Jesus was saying to him. He did not want to hear that the pathway might be something other than what he thought it should be. He did not want to hear how weak he really was without the power of God in his life. Nevertheless, Jesus told him, \"I have prayed that your faith will not fail. When you have returned, when you have changed and have been made into another man, strengthen those who are coming after you\" (see Luke 22:32). <\/p>\n\n

■<\/span> A DEEP SENSE OF FAILURE<\/span>
\nShortly after this conversation, everything started to change. Judas came into the Garden of Gethsemane with his band of religious robbers who were armed with torches, lanterns and rage-ready to be rid of this Christ. Peter immediately took out his sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. Jesus told him to put his sword away, and then He took the servant's ear and put it back on his head so that he was completely healed. <\/p>\n \n

\n Peter was then sent into a tailspin, as his whole world began to fall apart. I am sure he was thinking, \"This is not the way it was supposed to be! This is not the way I understood the kingdom of God. Lord, You have the power to walk on water, yet You are letting Yourself be taken captive! Didn't You tell me that upon my life the Church was going to be built and the gates of hell would not prevail against it? Yet I see the gates of hell coming in! Aren't You supposed to defeat the armies of Rome and establish the kingdom of God for us here and now? What is going on?\" <\/p>\n \n

\nAs Jesus was taken to His trial, Peter was warming himself by the fire. Suddenly someone approached him and said, \"You were with Him, weren't you?\" Peter quickly denied it. Then Peter was approached a second time and identified as one who had been with Jesus, which he denied with an oath. He essentially said, \"I swear to God that I am not part of that party.\" By the third time he was approached, he cursed himself, perhaps saying something along the lines of, \"May God strike me dead if I know that man\" (see Matthew 26:69-74).<\/p>\n \n

\nBy that point, Peter must have been frightened, angry and confused. He had been walking with Jesus for three years, and now things were just not working out the way he thought they would. This same thing happens to many people in the Church of Jesus Christ. \"I walked with You, God. I believed Your promises as I understood them, but my life is not turning out the way I thought it was going to. I was told that becoming a Christian meant my trials were going to be over-I would be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise all my life. Yet here I am- unemployed, lonely, and with failing health. I don't know how much of a Christian I really am.\" <\/p>\n \n

\nAs Peter denied Jesus for the third time, a rooster crowed, and Jesus turned and looked him right in the eye. Suddenly Peter remembered the words that Jesus had once said to him: \"Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times\"<\/span> (Matthew 26:34). At the time, Peter did not understand what was being told him, but now it had become a reality. <\/p>\n \n

\n\"Oh, God, what have I done? Have I failed You beyond hope? You said that You prayed that my faith would not fail, but I cursed myself with an oath saying that I didn't know You!\" And the Scripture says, \"He went out and wept bitterly\"<\/span> (Matthew 26:75).<\/p>\n \n

\n Similarly, some people today cannot pray without weeping. They are overcome by a deep sense of failure. They chose to turn away from things that were wrong and yet, even as a follower of Christ, they ended up doing things they never believed they were capable of. Now they are afraid to even come into His presence.<\/p>\n\n

■<\/span> WHEN JESUS SPEAKS PEACE<\/span>
\nJust a few days later, some of the disciples were gathered in a room behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jews. Peter was there, likely still wondering in his heart, \"Have I gone too far? Have I sinned away my moment of grace?\"<\/p>\n \n

\nSuddenly Jesus entered the room. I can imagine the moment their eyes met. You see, the last time this had happened, Peter had just uttered, \"May God curse me if I know this Man!\" This time, Jesus looked at Peter and said, \"Peace be with you\"<\/span> (John 20:19). How amazing! In other words, \"Peter, you do not have to fear your curse because I became a curse for you on the cross. I took your curse upon Myself.\" <\/p>\n \n

\n In the same way, if Jesus were to appear to you today, I believe He would look at you and say, \"Peace! I want peace with you, and I want you to be at peace with Me. I died for you because you could not save yourself; you had no strength to live the way the Word of God says you should. I want you to understand that I have come because I desire peace with you.\" <\/p>\n \n

\nThink about it: When Christ was born on this earth, He did not come as a twenty-five foot tall angel! He came encased in the body of a baby-whose diapers had to be changed by somebody. Almighty God was trying to tell us that He is not offended by our weakness. He came to save us-to bring us into peace with Him.<\/p>\n \n

\n So today, if you find yourself needing mercy; if you feel you have failed or as if all you have left are tears-I challenge you: Be at peace with God and let Him be at peace with you. If you are wondering how to do this, simply do as Peter did and let Jesus speak peace to you. Realize that He is not offended by your struggles or failures. Open your heart, and let Him touch your life in a fresh way.<\/p>\n \n

\nThe Bible tells us that after Jesus spoke peace to His disciples, He showed them His hands and His side, and the disciples were glad. He said to them again, \"Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you\"<\/span> (John 20:21). In other words, \"I am sending you now, Peter, as an ambassador of mercy. You now know what forgiveness and grace look like. The Father has sent Me, and I am sending you.\" And so we see that not only is God willing to bring you into peace with Him, He desires to appoint you as His ambassador in this hour. You will be a channel of God's mercy and kindness to a generation that so desperately needs to know what kind of Savior He is!<\/p>"},"56":{"sm_title":"Evil Is At The Gate","sm_id":"244","sm_desc":"March 6, 2016 - America is on the verge of being given to the godless. The value system of the godless is being imposed on this generation and this will result in the darkest time for America. As the true Christians we are the only ones who have the power to push back this darkness. We are called to humble ourselves and pray. It's time to turn away from sin, trust God for the power to live right and allow our hearts to be turned to the needs of others.","sm_jpg":"46880_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-05","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/03\/06s1\/20160306s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/03\/06s1\/20160306s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"ohbgHWgRJq4","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/47050_sermon-newsletter-201605-evil-is-at-the-gate.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. ...They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other\"<\/span> (Daniel 5:1-6).<\/p>\n \n

\nWhile Belshazzar the king stood there in fear, Daniel gave him the word of the Lord: \"O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor...But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this\"<\/span> (Daniel 5:18-22).<\/p>\n \n

\n We see here that this was not the first time God had dealt with pride in this nation. Before Belshazzar, a king named Nebuchadnezzar ruled in Babylon, and this was the word that was given to him: \"This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men. They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules\"<\/span> (Daniel 4:17, 25-26). In other words, \"Nebuchadnezzar, you have exalted yourself above the knowledge of God, engaging in practices that God has clearly forbidden. Because of the pride of your heart, your kingdom is going to be cut down. However, there will be a stump left, and it will grow again after you are humbled.\"<\/span><\/p>\n \n

\nAnd now Daniel was standing before the one whom he called Nebuchadnezzar's son, saying, \"Belshazzar, you are well aware of how God deals with pride! You know that you cannot deal treacherously with God and escape the consequences. Yet even knowing this, you have not humbled yourself.\" <\/p>\n\n

\nIn the formative years of the United States of America, we, too, set our hand to shameful practices which ultimately brought about the judgment of God, just as in Belshazzar's day.<\/p>\n \n

\nIn the years when slavery became an acceptable practice, 12.5 million Africans were stolen from their homeland-mostly the young and the strong. Approximately 10.5 million survived while 2 million died en route to their various destinations due to the cruelty imposed on them. According to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 6 percent of those who survived were delivered to North America, making the numbers somewhere in the vicinity of 630,000 slaves that we attained. Most people today have no idea that even Wall Street in Manhattan was once a slave-trading post. <\/p>\n \n

\nTragically, thousands of slaves died because of the conditions they were forced to live in, even after arriving on the shores of America. Amputations were a common punishment for slaves trying to gain their freedom, which was actually the irony of ironies-a nation that was priding itself on freedom from tyranny became in itself tyrannical to a whole race of people that were brought to its shores. Many of the African slaves were buried without any record of who they were. <\/p>\n \n

\nAlthough there were other circumstances, in great measure, slavery was the predominant issue that led to the onset of the Civil War in this country. In the war, 625,000 young people in America died-not only men but women. That was 2 percent of the American population! <\/p>\n \n

\nIn President Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, which took place when both slavery and the Civil War were nearing an end, he suggested that the death and destruction brought on by the war was divine retribution to America for possessing slaves. He even believed that it might be the will of God for the war to continue \"until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.\" <\/p>\n \n

\nAs the Bible says, \"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatever a man sows that will he also reap\"<\/span> (Galatians 6:7). I do not believe it is a coincidence that 630,000 slaves were dropped off in America, and later 625,000 American sons and daughters died in the Civil War. Just as thousands of the slaves died because of their cruel living conditions, 56,000 people died \nfrom starvation and disease in prison camps during the war. Many slaves were buried without dignity or any record of who they were. In the war, 40 percent of the dead were never identified; they had been left to rot in piles on the battlefield. <\/p>\n\n

\nAnd so we must ask ourselves: What are we doing with the history that we know? There is no excuse for the ignorance of what we once did and how God responded in this nation. As we saw in our opening text, Belshazzar, too, was without excuse. \"But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this\"<\/span> (Daniel 5:22). Belshazzar continued in his pride and rebellion, even though he should have known that God will not be mocked. <\/p>\n \n

\nThe indictment continued: \"And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold<\/span> (the gods of prosperity), bronze and iron<\/span> (the gods of human strength and ingenuity), wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified\"<\/span> (Daniel 5:23). Similarly, in America, we have praised the gods of silver and of gold. We allowed preachers to be raised up, unchallenged. Absolute charlatans came in and taught the people that somehow godliness is a means to financial gain. <\/p>\n \n

\n\"Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written. And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.\"<\/span> (Daniel 5:24-30).<\/p>\n \n

\nThe writing was on the wall, yet what did Belshazzar do? He got up from the table and proclaimed Daniel to be the third ruler in his kingdom! He should have turned to prayer. He should have fallen on his knees and cried out for mercy. He should have barricaded the gates. Instead, he simply decorated Daniel! <\/p>\n \n

\n Historians tell us that the Medes and Persians were already at the gate, and they ended up entering the city without any resistance from the people within. That very night, Belshazzar was slain.<\/p>\n \n

\nIn the same way, in this hour, evil is at the gate in America! Can't you see that the handwriting is already on the wall? We are on the verge of being given over to the godless. In fact, the godless with their value system have already largely infiltrated our society. However, we are on the verge of something much deeper and darker than anything we could have imagined.<\/p>\n\n

■ IT'S TIME TO PRAY<\/span>
\nThis leaves us with one question: What will we do as the Church of Jesus Christ? We are the only ones left with the power to push back the darkness. We do not have to open the gate and allow this nation to be flooded with evil. That is, unless we become like Belshazzar and his entourage, who agreed with the word of God yet could do nothing about it. All they could do was decorate the prophet, saying, \"Yes, this is a man of God. Yes, this is a word from God!\" Similarly, you can read this newsletter and call me an anointed man of God; you can agree that this message is from the Lord, yet still do nothing.<\/p>\n \n

\nHowever, I remind you that God said to His own people, \"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land\"<\/span> (2 Chronicles 7:14). We must admit that our ways have not been God's ways-that we have pursued pleasure more than God. We must acknowledge that we have failed to be a light to this generation and turn from our wicked ways!<\/p>\n \n

\n According to His Word, we must also humble ourselves and pray. Oh, if ever there was a time to pray, it is now! If your church does not have a prayer meeting, start one in your home! If we do not pray, what kind of country are we going to be leaving for our children and grandchildren? What kind of evil is going to invade the classroom? What kinds of laws are going to be passed obligating the Church of Jesus Christ to become partakers of this nation's sin? <\/p>\n \n

\nI would like you to seriously consider these things, for we are living in a moment when evil is at the gate of our nation. However, the good news is that it can still be averted in measure, for God is good and His mercy endures forever. I believe God can still touch our children; He can still touch our churches and our neighborhoods. I believe that America can still experience a third great awakening before that final day of judgment comes upon this whole world. <\/p>\n \n

\nBut I also know that there has never been a great awakening anywhere at any time in history without somebody, somewhere, praying and laying hold of God. It all begins with prayer. In the book of Ezekiel, the Lord said, \"I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one\"<\/span> (Ezekiel 22:30). I can picture the Spirit of God going through the streets of a nation that was known for its religion. There was a deep pleading in the heart of God, for He did not want to have to judge that nation. Yet the people were probably busy, just as we are today. \"I have children to tend to. I have groceries to buy. I work long hours on my job.\" Everyone had an excuse, and so they remained unaware of the critical moment in history they were living in.<\/p>\n\n

\nHowever, as the writer of Hebrews said, \"I have a vision of better things in your case\" (see Hebrews 6:9). I believe with all my heart that some of you reading this newsletter will take this call seriously and will not simply put away this plea from the Holy Spirit. You understand that we are living in a crisis moment, and are willing to get up and say, \"I will go to the gate. I will intercede, and I will trust God for the strength to push back the plans of darkness to destroy our society!\" <\/p>\n \n

\nIt is encouraging to remember that even though the Medes and Persians did take over Babylon, Daniel, because he was a righteous man, was technically transported into the next society and given much favor. He became one of the vessels God used to influence the king to sign a decree allowing God's people to return to the Promised Land to rebuild the testimony of the Lord.<\/p>\n \n

\n And so I challenge you now to pray as you have never prayed before. You and I have no excuse for remaining in spiritual poverty. After all, everything was accomplished for us on the cross, and the Lord has left us here on this earth as His co-laborers to win a harvest of souls. He has given us the assurance that whatever we ask, believing, we shall receive. That means we are not powerless; we do not have to merely sit as spectators, watching this godless parade flood our nation. No! We have power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (see Luke 10:19). We have the power to stand at the gates and resist evil. We have the power to believe God for a spiritual awakening. We have the power to call down heaven in order that His Name might be exalted in this generation-and by God's grace, that is what we will do!<\/p>"},"57":{"sm_title":"Be Still, And Know That I Am God","sm_id":"250","sm_desc":"February 7, 2016 - What does it mean to be still? It means to admit defeat and to come to the end of ourselves so that we can cease from the striving and struggling to be Godly in our own strength. Today, God is inviting us to let go of those things that seem to be Godly, but has its fuel source in human effort and to come to Him so He can be God to you. The deepest work of God is the quiet work that's goes on in the inward work of our heart.","sm_jpg":"46834_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-04","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/02\/07s1\/20160207s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2016\/02\/07s1\/20160207s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"EDhKOB3EvSI","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/46999_sermon-newsletter-201604-be-still-and-know-that-i-am-god.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge\"<\/span> (Psalm 46:1-11).<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\"Be still and know that I am God\" is an incredible verse about which many songs have been written and countless sermons have been preached. But what exactly does it mean to be still? Does it mean that we simply do not do anything? In the original text, \"be still\" means to admit defeat; to let down your hands. It means to give up trying to figure everything out on your own, letting go of all striving and attempts at being godly in your own strength.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Contrary to this instruction, there is a lot of noise today in the house of God. I have found over the years that this is typically an effort to compensate for the lack of God's working in the midst of a people.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

We even see this in the Scriptures with the prophets of Baal in Elijah's day: \"So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, 'O Baal, hear us!' But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made...They cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention\"<\/span> (1 Kings 18:26-29). Yes, these gatherings may be exciting with all the jumping, clapping, dancing and shouting. However, it is because of a need to stir up everything possible in the sensory realm in order to create an illusion that God is actually there doing something.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Consider the words of Psalm 74 in the context of much of the Church's testimony over the past few decades: \"Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations. The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary. Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place; they set up their banners for signs. They seem like men who lift up axes among the thick trees. But now they break down its carved work, all at once, with axes and hammers. They have set fire to Your sanctuary; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground\" <\/span>(Psalm 74:3-7). There is a carving going on inside the temple. Everyone is coming in with all their noise-their fleshly ideas and human effort-and they are breaking down what was designed by God.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

In reality, the deepest work of God is that which takes place in the hidden inner man of the heart. It is not something that makes a lot of noise. The Lord Himself expressed this truth as He called to His own people through the prophet Isaiah: \"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength'\"<\/span> (Isaiah 30:15). In other words, \"You would have found true strength by letting go of all human effort and putting your confidence in the work that only I can do.\" That is the real essence of Christian growth. Remember, the Christian life is a supernatural life. None of us can make ourselves holy-we can only yield our lives to the One who does this sanctifying work within us.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

The Lord went on to say through Isaiah, \"...but you would have none of it. You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.' Therefore you will flee! You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.' Therefore your pursuers will be swift!\"<\/span> (Isaiah 30:15-16, NIV). In other words, \"You insisted, 'No, we will continue to try to do this in our own strength! We will strategize it; we will develop an agenda that will accomplish all we desire. We will make things happen on our own in this society and even in the house of God!'\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\"'A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.' Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion\"<\/span> (Isaiah 30:17-18, NIV).<\/p>\r\n\r\n

And so God says, \"I will let you run your own course if you choose to do so. I will let you run so hard, so fast, and so far, until you have exhausted all your strength-until there is nowhere to go but where I am. And when you finally get there, you will find Me waiting for you. I will be merciful to you in that place.\" Don't you just love the graciousness of our God?<\/p>\r\n\r\n\r\n

\r\n■ A SILENT WORK<\/span>
\r\n Perhaps you are now wondering: How exactly am I supposed to be still when all around me is noise and flurry-even that which claims to represent God? How do I let down my hands and give up trying to figure everything out when that is all I have ever done?<\/p>\r\n \r\n

First of all, it will be helpful to see a biblical example of what it actually looks like to \"be still.\" Consider the first temple that God designed and built on the earth for Himself. Nobody had to figure anything out-God specified the whole design in detail and gave it to David by the Spirit, which he then passed on to his son, Solomon.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

The Bible's description of the construction of Solomon's temple gives us a phenomenal illustration: \"And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built\"<\/span> (1 Kings 6:7). All the hammering and chiseling took place in the mountain, and then the stones were brought over so that the temple could be built in peace!<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Now Solomon's temple, in all its glory, was a foreshadowing of what would eventually become God's new temple: you and me! We are the temple of the Holy Spirit; we are the dwelling place of God. The moment we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit took up residence inside our physical bodies. As the Apostle Paul said, Christ in us is the hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27).<\/p>\r\n \r\n

And so, when I consider how all the hammering for Solomon's temple took place in the mountain, I cannot help but draw a parallel to Calvary-when the hammer came down on the nails that were driven straight into the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. All the hammering and work was done at Calvary, and from there came wonderful stones that would build the new foundation for our lives. Remember, the Bible says that if you are in Christ, you become a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). The old foundation slowly and quietly slides out and is replaced by a new foundation that is built on the cornerstone of Christ.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

It is clear that there is no need for noise inside the temple in order for God to work. Old things are carried out, and sometimes we do not even realize what happened until they are already long gone. I have had moments in my life when I looked back and said, \"Wow, what happened to that old habit of mine? That has been part of my life since I was a child!\" Yet suddenly I realized that it had left months ago. It was not something that I had necessarily prayed about. Somehow that old stone just slid out and a brand-new one came in its place. I had been placed on a new foundation!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n \"So he built the temple and finished it, and he paneled the temple with beams and boards of cedar\"<\/span> (1 Kings 6:9). This speaks to me of the cross. In other words, inside this temple, the cross covers all of our flaws and failings. We cannot be condemned, for we have a righteousness given to us from God. As genuine believers in Christ, we are each growing in grace and knowledge.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\"The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with ornamental buds and open flowers. All was cedar; there was no stone to be seen\"<\/span> (1 Kings 6:18). Skilled craftsmen came in to work on the inside of the temple, just as God's skilled work is going on inside our temple all the time. He knows how to take the barren places of our lives and create something beautiful-carving flowers of patience, love, truth and humility. We may not necessarily see or hear the work God is doing, but rest assured, it is continual. The Scriptures tell us that as we simply behold the graciousness of our Lord, we are changed from image to image and glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). Things supernaturally begin to happen inside of us, and before we know it, a flower garden emerges where there was once barrenness.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

The description continues: \"And he prepared the inner sanctuary inside the temple, to set the ark of the covenant of the Lord there\"<\/span> (1 Kings 6:19). This means that Christ wants to come and reside in the center of His temple. That is when the Lord truly becomes everything to us, and there is nothing left but His will intermingled with ours!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\n Later in the book of First Kings, we see that the queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon and see his temple. Now the queen of Sheba had a kingdom as well-she had her own servants, craftsmen, cupbearers and treasury. But when she saw Solomon's temple and heard his wisdom, the Bible says that there was \"no more spirit in her\"<\/span> (1 Kings 10:5). She had seen what God could do in comparison to the best efforts of man.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

You see, there is a marked difference between well-intentioned people and Spirit-led people. You and I are called to be a testimony in our generation of what only God can do. The early Church began that way with one hundred and twenty people bursting out of an Upper Room into the marketplace. A crowd of three thousand people turned to Christ that day, realizing that all their prior religion could not produce what they were witnessing in these disciples. This was something divine-something only God could do!<\/p>\r\n \r\n

That is what our lives ought to be. We are now the only Bible that this generation is going to read. Soon there will no longer be any Bibles in hotel rooms; people will not be allowed to pray at public events. But there is one thing that this society cannot do: they cannot take the testimony of the living God from His temple!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n■ A REASON FOR THE HOPE<\/span>
\r\n\r\n Just as we saw in our opening Psalm, I believe we are entering a season in this world when mountains will shake, seas will roar, societies will be troubled, and difficulty will be on every side (see Psalm 46:3,6). That is why Scripture instructs us to \"sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you\"<\/span> (1 Peter 3:15).<\/p>\r\n \r\n

The nations will rage; there will be fear on every side. But for the people of God, there will be a quiet confidence in their hearts. Yes, they will have to go through the same storms as everyone else. Yet, if they have chosen to truly let God be the Lord of their lives, fearful people will soon be coming to them, saying, \"Tell me the reason why you have such hope in your speech; why there is such light in your eyes and such kindness in your voice!\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

It is our testimony that will offer hope to the people around us in the days ahead. However, in order to have that testimony, we must learn to be still and know that He is God. It is time now to let down our hands and surrender our attempts to try to change our own lives or chart our own course. Instead, we are to give Him all of our struggles and trials-past, present, and future. The Lord desires to come in and dwell at the center of His temple. And so we must allow Him to bring in His master craftsman, the Holy Spirit, to do a glorious work within us so that His name might be honored.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Remember that when Solomon's temple was complete, the glory of God came so powerfully that nobody could stand in His presence (see 1 Kings 8:10-11). All arguments failed and all human effort died, for a holy God had come into His temple. What a beautiful reminder that we do not have to promise God anything. Rather, we are to live by His promises and become, as the Apostle Peter said, partakers of the divine life of God in Christ! Hallelujah!<\/p>"},"58":{"sm_title":"The Promise of Provision","sm_id":"248","sm_desc":"August 30, 2015 - So many want the power and provision of God but they don't want His pathway. When we make the choice to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness God will give us His power, provision and His heart to do His will. There is a commanded blessing on our life and our family's life when we choose to walk in a truthful unity with God. ","sm_jpg":"26600_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-03","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/08\/30s1\/20150830s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/08\/30s1\/20150830s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"AQMrD9kLveI","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/46866_sermon-newsletter-201603-the-promise-of-provision.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

You and I live in a time of much uncertainty about tomorrow. We do not know what the future holds for America's economy or that of other nations. You may have a job today, but there is no guarantee that you will still have it next year or even next week. Yet, thank God that we as believers in Christ have been given an incredible promise of provision-particularly in a time when provision seems so scarce. Consider the words of King David in Psalm 37: \"I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread\"<\/span> (37:25). I can personally attest to the truth of this verse, having witnessed the tangible provision of God coming into the lives, families and homes of those who made the choice to walk in the righteousness of Christ.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n The psalm continues, \"He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him. The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it\" <\/span>(Psalm 37:26-34).<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nDavid penned these words during a time of great wickedness. Those who desired to follow God were becoming anxious and perhaps even angry, much like we see happening in our day. Nevertheless, David knew that wickedness always leads to a destructive end, and he encouraged the people of God not to lose heart in the midst of such a difficult season. \"I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a native green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; indeed I sought him, but he could not be found\"<\/span> (Psalm 37:35-36). In other words, though the wicked seem to have the upper hand in almost every area, the season of wickedness will soon be over in this world.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nDavid continued, \"Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him\"<\/span> (Psalm 37:37-40). And so we are reminded that no matter what is happening in the world around us, as we live for God and put our trust in Him, we will find Him to be our strength and our deliverer!<\/p>\r\n

\r\nLet's take a moment to look once again at verse 25: \"I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.\"<\/span> What an incredible promise to those of us who have been appointed to live in an anti-Christian time in history! The righteous have never been forsaken, and I assure you that you will not be the exception!<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nOf course, it is important to note that the key to this promise hangs on the word \"righteous.\" When you and I came to Christ, we were given what the Bible calls imputed righteousness. The best way I can explain this is through the parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15). The Bible tells us that this boy took his inheritance and went far away from his father, in the same way many of us strayed from God in our early years. He ended up in a place of famine and heartache, doing things he never believed he would be capable of. And although he knew he had no merit, one day he just got up and started to return home. To his surprise, when he got close to home, his father ran to meet him-embracing him and covering him with the finest robe in the house.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nIn the same way, when you decided to return to God, God met you. He embraced you and covered you with the finest robe-the blood that Jesus Christ shed on a cross two thousand years ago. God cleansed you and gave you a righteousness that you did not earn.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nIn the parable, the covering came with a ring, representing the power that this son would need in order to be the ambassador his father was calling him to be. He was also given a pair of shoes-implying that his righteousness would involve a journey. He was not called to merely stand on the road and look good and clean. No, he was called to go on a journey with his father!<\/p>\r\n

\r\nSadly, many people desire the righteousness of Christ and all the promises that come along with it, yet they do not want the pathway it requires. They simply want to be able to feel good and clean. Like the Pharisees, they may have knowledge of the Scriptures and possess all the exterior coverings, but in the end, knowledge of the truth is not good enough.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nConsider how in America we have known the truth. The Word of God has not been hidden; there are Bibles in most homes, even if they are just gathering dust on a shelf. You can turn on the television, and as obscure as it may be, there is still something of the Word of God spoken through the media. Despite some of the glaring wrongs in the history of our nation, from the beginning there has been an abiding reverence for the Word of God.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n Yet we began to hold the truth of God in unrighteousness. In other words, we had God's Word, but we refused to walk in it. We became enamored with the blessings and forgot the One who is the author and source of everything we have. The Bible clearly warns us of the consequences of holding the truth of God in unrighteousness: A darkened mind is given to that nation; lawlessness and immorality begin to break out; and perversion becomes the order of the day (see Romans 1:28-32). And now we see all of these things happening in our nation at an accelerated rate. Our families are breaking down and our minds are confused. We can no longer distinguish between good and evil.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nThe Scriptures give us another picture of what happens when the truth of God is held in unrighteousness. Consider what happened in the nation of Israel: God Himself in the flesh was in their midst-the God who had fought their enemies, given them life, and done incredible miracles for them. Yet the Bible tells us that \"He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him\"<\/span> (John 1:11). I cannot think of a darker moment in history than when Jesus was arrested, and the crowd began to shout, \"Crucify Him! Away with this fellow! We will not have Him to reign over us!\" (see John 19:14-16). They were looking the Son of God in the face and saying, \"Away with You; to death with You! We want our religion. We don't want You challenging our behavior! We have our own righteousness!\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nIt was not the righteousness of God anymore. They had been blessed; they had the history and the promises of God. Yet they grew careless and began to hold the truth of God in unrighteousness, which ultimately resulted in a reprobate mind. By the time they were only seventy years away from destruction, they still assumed that everything was going to continue on peacefully forever. Little did they know that an empire called Rome was about to take over, and there would be no withstanding it!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n■ AWAY WITH HIM<\/span>
\r\nNow if you had been in that crowd, would you have been among those yelling, \"Away with Him! Crucify Him?\" Most people would be quick to answer, \"I would never have done that!\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nHowever, I ask you to think about it for a moment: If you know the truth about an area of your life but will not obey Him, are you not essentially joining the crowd that says, \"Away with Him\"? I am referring to something that the Lord clearly has His finger on. Perhaps you are in a relationship that you should not be in; you are watching something that you need to turn off; or you are doing something in the workplace that you know is wrong. God has been speaking to you about this issue, but in your heart, you are essentially saying, \"Away with this Man! I will not have Him reign over my life! I don't mind going to church or opening a Bible. I don't mind singing the songs and feeling good about myself. But do not try to govern my life, Jesus!\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n You see, the Pharisees made a critical error. They wanted God's covering and all the social perks that came along with it. They wanted power and security; prestige and provision-which is what a lot of the gospel of our time focuses on. Many people come to the house of God and essentially say, \"I don't want to be led by Christ. Let's not even talk about my giving or the mission field. I want to talk about how I can start using the name of Jesus Christ. I want influence; I want security; I want prestige in the church and advancement on my job.\" Yet, like the Pharisees, they are unaware that the pathway they are on is going in the opposite direction of truth.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nJesus made it clear when He said in the book of Matthew, \"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness\" (Matthew 6:33). Seek first the kingdom of God-or in other words, seek to do the actual work of God on the earth. That ought to be the cry of your heart and mine: \"God, what is Your purpose for my life on the earth? How do You want to glorify Yourself through me?\" Sometimes it is as simple as speaking the truth in the marketplace when everybody else is lying; being honest when everyone else is crooked; standing up when everyone else is bowing down. Sometimes it is simply praying for people in your neighborhood rather than ignoring them every time you pass them on the street.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n Notice that the verse tells us we are to seek not only the kingdom of God but His righteousness, as well. This includes not only the ability but the heart and willingness to accomplish His work on the earth. In other words, when we ask God, \"What would You have me to do?\" we must also ask Him for the heart to do it. Oftentimes what the Lord asks us to do is not easy, or it is the least appealing thing on our list. I have found myself praying lately, \"God, You have to give me the passion and the desire. You must take me where You want me to go and give me what I do not naturally possess.\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nPerhaps you already know what God is asking you to do; you are aware of the things that you need to turn away from. What you are in need of now is the willingness to do it. Instead of running from your marriage, you need the passion to fight for it-to fight for your future, your children, your home. Instead of running from being righteous in the marketplace, you need the heart and courage to stand up boldly for the gospel.The good news is that God has everything you need! When the Bible says that the righteous are never forsaken, it is referring to an interior provision as well as an exterior. The Lord has all the passion, strength, joy, courage, and provision required for this journey He has called you to. And as you seek His kingdom and His righteousness first, all things will be added to you!<\/p>\r\n

\r\nNow let's not forget that there is an incredible second half to the promise: \"I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread\"<\/span> (Psalm 37:25). \"Nor his descendants begging bread\"-which means that walking with Christ does not affect only you, it affects the future of those you love.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nRemember that it is ultimately because of Christ's obedience to the Father-because He yielded His life to fulfill the purposes of God-that you and I, as the descendants of Jesus Christ, can claim the promise in this psalm. And so we see how important it is that we walk in obedience and give our whole hearts to the Lord. As we do so, the promise will extend to all those who come after us-our children, our grandchildren, those over whom God has made our lives an authority. I have already seen this to be true in my own life. As far back as I know of, I am the first believer in Christ in my family. But now I have nephews and nieces and other family members turning to God. And long after I am gone, I believe that the blessing of the Lord will still be touching my home as I make the choice to walk in the righteousness of Christ.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nOn Sunday nights here at Times Square Church, I hear many testimonies of people in our congregation who tried to run from God. They lived lives of sin and rebellion, turning up their music extremely loud in an attempt to drown out the voice of God. But the dilemma they faced was that they had a righteous mother or a righteous father; somebody was praying for them! And now it is obvious that they have not been forsaken; they are not begging for bread, because somebody in their house walked with God.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nLet us make the choice daily to walk in God's way, holding the truth of God in righteousness, and trusting Him for the strength that we need to fully follow Him. As we choose to do so, we will see the Scripture fulfilled-the blessing of the righteous will be upon us as well as our descendants. All that we have need of will be supplied, for God is absolutely faithful to fulfill His promise!
<\/p>"},"59":{"sm_title":"For Heaven's Sake, Hurry Up and Die","sm_id":"245","sm_desc":"October 11, 2015 - As sons and daughters of God we must cross a bridge into something bigger and deeper of God. As we pass through the valley of the shadow of death, we will die to our own life and live for the purposes of God. Today, let us ask God to help us to die to ourselves and live for others. Jesus will give you divine strength to live in the midst of a fallen society.","sm_jpg":"26716_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-02","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/10\/11s1\/20151011s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/10\/11s1\/20151011s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"zR4SwTF0Bcc","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/46815_sermon-newsletter-201602-for-heavens-sake-hurry-up-and-die.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

In all likelihood, many of you are very familiar with Psalm 23, but I would like to consider this portion of Scripture in the context of a life well-lived in God. I believe that the Christian life, at least as has been the case in America, is generally lived in two stages, both of which are ordained of God and supernaturally lived. These two stages are beautifully illustrated in Psalm 23, so let's take a look, starting at the beginning. <\/p>\n \n

David's song opens with the words, \"The Lord is my shepherd\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:1). Can you, too, say today that the Lord is your shepherd? In other words, have you truly transferred the ownership and direction of your life over to God? Consider this: If I were to tell you that I was going to give you my car, the transaction would not be complete until I signed off on the title and you went down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and got it registered in your name. At that point, with the title in hand, you would be able to rightfully say, \"This car belongs to me.\" <\/p>\n \n

\n Now, a lot of people want to call Jesus their shepherd, yet they do not want to release the rights of their lives over to Him. They may come to church and agree with a set of facts, understanding that there is a heaven and a hell and knowing that Jesus died for their sins. However, mental agreement with a set of facts is not salvation. There comes a point when each person has to sign over the rights to his life to the One who bought him with a price. Until that happens, one cannot honestly say, \"The Lord is my shepherd.\" <\/p>\n \n

There are other people who want to retain joint ownership. They come to the altar and sign over the \"title\" of their life, but they also say, \"I will now be a co-owner with Jesus of what He purchased with His blood.\" However, the Lord will never be a passenger in any car! When you sign over the rights to your life, it does not mean co-ownership. He fully owns you! He owns the rights to your future-to wherever He calls you to go and whatever He calls you to be! <\/p>\n \n

And then there is a third type of people who want to be the lien holders. In other words, they essentially say, \"If You do not treat me the way I think You ought to, I am taking back the rights to my life.\" No! When we come to Christ, we cast ourselves on the mercies of God. We make the choice to go with Him all the way-no turning back. <\/p>\n \n

It is truly wonderful when you can rightfully say, \"The Lord is my shepherd.\" Yes, you may have struggles, and you may even argue with God at times. But if He is the Lord of your life, He will lead and guide you, using your life for His glory.<\/p>\n

\n I SHALL NOT WANT<\/span>
\n David then goes on to say, \"I shall not want\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:1). Having once been a shepherd myself, I well understand what this means. When we were younger, my wife and I had a sheep farm with sixty-eight females, two males, and a bunch of lambs, depending on the season. Sometimes when I got home after working all day, I would go sit in the barn among the sheep for an hour or so, just listening to them. <\/p>\n \n

I was able to pick up on many things. You see, because I was their shepherd, their needs were my concerns. I could tell if there was trouble simply by the tension in the air. If they were chewing too fast, quite often it was because there was a sick lamb in their midst. Or perhaps a snake or rat had gotten into the barn. I would then get up and start looking around and I would always discover the problem! <\/p>\n \n

And so when I gave my life to Christ, it became easy for me to understand that His heart is for me. His heart is to feed me when I am hungry, to calm all my fears, to reassure me by His presence that all will be well. Every need I have is of deepest concern for my shepherd, and so I know I shall not want!<\/p>\n

\n \"He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:2). <\/p>\n \n

I grew up in a house where I was taught to worry. Before my mother became a Christian, she worried so much that if there was nothing to worry about, she would worry about that! It seemed as if most of her sentences had \"and die\" at the end of them. \"Don't eat your food too fast-you will choke and die!\" or \"Be careful crossing the street-you might get hit by a car and die!\" By the time I was fifteen years old, I was afraid to go out of the house. <\/p>\n \n

But when I came to Christ, He \"made me to lie down in green pastures\"-which meant reading the Word of God. I opened the Bible, and He began to reveal to me why I was born. I started to sense that there was a divine purpose for my life and that it would be achieved by His promises. I learned that God had not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. He led me to a place of stillness in my spirit-a place where all of the clanging voices of doom and despair were silenced.<\/p>\n

\n FOR HIS NAME'S SAKE<\/span>
\n \"He restores my soul\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:3). We all have pain and wounds from the past that threaten to dominate our thinking and our lives forever. However, the Lord restores our soul. He brings healing that cannot come any other way. <\/p>\n \n

The verse continues: \"He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake\" <\/span>(Psalm 23:3). Notice that God does this for His name's sake. Did you know that God has interwoven the honor of His name in you? What an amazing thought! God might say to the angels in heaven, \"Do you want to see what I look like? Look at that person! I have interwoven the honor of My name in keeping that child of mine-leading, guiding, and transforming him into what he was destined to be!\" <\/p>\n \n

One day back on the farm, I was about to leave for work when I looked out the kitchen window and saw that about twenty of my sheep had escaped through a hole in the fence. They ended up underneath my neighbor's deck next door. I was already dressed for work and didn't have time to gather a bunch of people to help me get the sheep back. As I was trying to figure out what to do, I suddenly remembered that sheep love oats. I quickly put some in a can and carried it over to my neighbor's porch. I then shook the can, saying, \"Here, you ewes, come follow me!\" Even though there were twenty sheep and only one little can of oats, they all felt certain they were going to get some, so they followed me down the road back home. <\/p>\n \n

If I had left them there, I would have become known as the guy who lets his sheep wander all over the place. Therefore, for my name's sake, I led them back to where they were supposed to be! That is exactly what God does. If you are where you shouldn't be, you will soon find before you somebody with a \"can of oats\"-the promises of God. \"Follow Me; I have something greater for your life! You don't have to do this. You don't have to be in this relationship. You don't have to keep going to this club.\"Remember, wherever God is calling us to go will always be a place of safety and provision. I would never call my sheep home only to leave them high and dry in the barn. I would break open a bag of oats and fill the troughs so that they all had as much as they wanted!<\/p>\n

\n THE BRIDGE<\/span>
\n Did you notice that up until this point, Psalm 23 has been all about me? \"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down; He leads me; He restores me\" (see Psalm 23:1-3). It has been all about my comfort, my promises, my healing and my being led. <\/p>\n \n

Of course, all of these things are important. You don't make demands of a child when he is learning to walk or read. A child needs constant reassurance that everything is going to be okay. And so the first three verses of Psalm 23 speak to me about the beginnings of the Christian walk. God is reassuring us that He will be with us, comfort us, provide for us, and lead us. <\/p>\n \n

But then we come to the bridge. Just as a bridge in a song is a climactic build to something greater, verse four is a bridge that takes us to a deeper place as sons and daughters of God: \"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:4). It is a bridge from that place of youthfulness to something deeper in God. It is where we fulfill our purpose as sons and daughters of God, representing Him in the earth. It is often a place where we must face our deepest inner fears; a place where we may feel incapable of doing what Christ is asking of us.<\/p>\n

\n The Bible gives us another picture of this bridge in the story of Elijah and Elisha. Elisha was a young prophet in training who ended up following Elijah across the Jordan River. This crossing was the bridge-representing death to an old way of living and birth to a new destiny. <\/p>\n \n

Before arriving at the Jordan, they passed by different cities with prophets who saw Elisha's journey only as one of loss. They warned Elisha, \"If you follow this path, you are going to lose your master! It is going to be difficult\" (see 2 Kings 2:5). It is in such a place that many Christians stand idle in indecision, and some end up turning back. But not Elisha.<\/p>\n \n

The Bible tells us that when Elijah crossed over the Jordan with Elisha following close behind, the people who knew truth watched, refusing to embark on the journey themselves. It was the journey to life and power, yet they would not take it because it meant dying to something they did not want to let go of; it meant a lifestyle that they were not prepared to embrace. They did not mind studying the Scriptures and knowing the history. But to be given for a failing, fallen society was not something they found palatable at all. <\/p>\n \n

In America, this, too, has been the source of weakness in our testimony of Christ. Our theological focus has primarily been on ourselves. We have lived in verses one to three of Psalm 23 for the last fifty years and, as a result, society is now turning against the testimony of Christ, with multitudes heading for hell. It is time for us to be willing to take the journey! We must go across the bridge in verse four and move on to something deeper for all of our lives.<\/p>\n \n

Sadly, many will not cross the bridge because it means death to their own desires. It means entering into the work of God as mature sons and daughters, living for the benefit of others. Of course, it is not easy for any of us; we all inherently want to be happy and comfortable. Yet we are being called to this place known as the valley of the shadow of death.<\/p>\n

\n A DEEPER JOY<\/span>
\n David was willing to take the full journey, and we see in Psalm 23 that he eventually came to the place where he could say, \"Your rod and your staff, they comfort me\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:4). He recognized that God was working through him an honorable and eternal purpose. <\/p>\n \n

\"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:5). David was led to a table of divine strength in the midst of a hostile society. Although he was surrounded by enemies, he was able to sit down and eat with a peace deeper than any he had ever known; with confidence that could not be taken away from him. <\/p>\n \n

David went on to say, \"You anoint my head with oil\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:5). In other words, \"Now I understand the purpose of my life. I thought I had won the victory in the days of Goliath, or when I sang my sweet songs and drove the devils away from Saul. But then You led me through the valley of the shadow of death, and now that I have come out the other side, I see that my life is meant to be something greater than I once thought. I understand that this is about Your kingdom and Your people!\" <\/p>\n \n

\"My cup runs over\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:5). Now gladness flowed out of his entire being. There is a joy available in the Christian life that is so deep and so far beyond just singing songs in church or feeling good about ourselves. The Lord and the angels in heaven rejoice every time a sinner returns home, and He is willing to let us share in this joy! <\/p>\n \n

That means your joy will no longer merely be because there are oats in the barn or because you feel comfortable and warm. Your joy will be so far beyond all those former things you learned in verses one to three. Now it will be found in seeing the heart of God satisfied through your life in your generation.<\/p>\n

\n Lastly, David said, \"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever\"<\/span> (Psalm 23:6). When I get to the end of my journey, I want to be able to look behind me and see goodness and mercy in people's lives. I want to be able to say, \"Lord, You gave them to me, and I didn't lose them. I did everything I knew to feed them and remind them that You care for them. I did everything I could to get them to follow me across the bridge so that they might be given for the needs of this society. I taught them that there is a table even in the presence of hateful places where, in the natural, we would rather not go.\" <\/p>\n \n

Which brings me back to the title of this newsletter: \"For heaven's sake, hurry up and die!\" Let's hurry up and die to ourselves and to our fears so that we can cross the bridge, making a way for many others to come to Christ. A self-focused Church will never touch this generation. That is why God is calling us to cross that bridge to where it is no longer about us but about His plans and purposes. So let's go and be everything that God has called us to be. Let's believe Him for the supernatural. Let's allow Him to make us ambassadors of the Christ who went to a cross! <\/p>\n \n

If we will allow Him to take us on this journey, God will cause us to make a difference in this world. He will give us grace and strength so that we might pave the way for countless others to find Him as Lord and Savior!<\/p>"},"60":{"sm_title":"Six Words That Will Determine Your Eternity","sm_id":"243","sm_desc":"September 20, 2015 - Everyone one of us have a unique calling. This calling leads us to places of weakness, so God can deposit His life, power, and the exact measure of grace that you need. Remind yourself that your former captivities are captive and you have a new nature and the power of the Holy Spirit to cause your life to glorify God and become a blessing to others. Follow God where His grace leads you and you will one day hear \u201cwell done good and faithful servant\u201d. ","sm_jpg":"26668_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2016-01","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/09\/20s1\/20150920s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/09\/20s1\/20150920s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"9MLNoXoGaYc","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/46690_sermon-newsletter-201601-six-words-that-will-determine-your-eternity.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Did you know that six words will determine your eternity? These are six words that, as a believer in Christ, you should have as the very foundation of your heart and service to God. We find them in a parable that Jesus tells in the book of Matthew: \"For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them\"<\/span> (Matthew 25:14). Here we see that this master delivered his goods to his servants, which is paralleled in the book of Ephesians where it speaks of Christ: \"When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men\"<\/span> (Ephesians 4:8). Jesus took captivity captive, meaning that the former restrictions on your life-the voices that have told you that you are not smart or talented enough, the negative words that have been spoken over you-are all gone! You are now a new creation in Christ, and you have a unique calling ahead of you. <\/p>\n \n

\nOf course, this unique calling on each of our lives will inevitably lead us to places where we do not have the natural strength to go-in order that Christ might be glorified through it all. That is why He \"gave gifts to men.\" In other words, we are each given exactly what we need in order to fulfill His purpose for our lives. This is illustrated as the parable continues: \"And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey\" <\/span>(Matthew 25:15). The talents represent a deposit of Christ's life-His character, His strength, His power, whatever is needed to get us through our journey. <\/p>\n \n

\n Now many mistakenly assume that the five-talent people are all behind pulpits or leading worship. That simply is not true! The person who possesses five talents does not necessarily have a high profile ministry. It could be the single mother who has to work two jobs in order to feed her family. She has to drag her children to church on Sunday when they don't want to get out of bed. Nevertheless, she chooses to keep believing God, and so she needs five talents to do what she does. <\/p>\n \n

\nPerhaps today you need two talents to stand in public, but you need five talents to stay in the home where God has placed you. One day you may need more grace than another day. Whatever the case may be, the Lord promises to give you the exact measure of His life and power to do what He has called you to do. He will never lead you where His grace will not sustain you. <\/p>\n

\n\nJesus continued His parable, \"Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord'\" <\/span>(Matthew 25:16-23). <\/p>\n \n

\nHere we find the six words that will determine our eternity: \"Well done, good and faithful servant!\" Please note that I am not referring to our eternal destination, for we know that we will be with Christ if we have received Him as our Lord and Savior, and committed our lives to Him. What we are considering now are our eternal rewards-rewards that are deeper than you and I can even begin to imagine. <\/p>\n \n

\nI live with the constant awareness that one day I will stand at the throne of God-and I will stand there alone. It does not really matter if a million voices said, \"Did you hear this man on the Internet? What a great anointing! Did you hear his testimony?\" It does not matter if a million people think I am wonderful or if a million enemies think I am not. When I stand at the throne of God, only one voice will matter-the One who determines what my eternity will be! <\/p>\n

\n\nNotice that in the parable, the master said, \"Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things.\"<\/span> In other words, \"I did not ask you to do a lot of things. I did not require of you what was out of your reach or beyond the strength I was willing to give you. No, I gave you just a few things to do in your life, and you did them well.\"<\/p>\n \n

\nI had to learn this important lesson when I was a young pastor living in Canada. I was determined to win the whole world to Christ! I set out with a passion to do what I felt in my heart needed to be done for the kingdom of God-traveling the length and breadth of the country. I went to the Arctic; I spent time with the Inuit people; once I even preached until I burst blood vessels in my eyes. I fasted, I ran, I prayed-only to be completely depleted of strength at the age of thirty-seven. <\/p>\n \n

\n I remember going out on a country road and accusing God of being unfaithful to me. I was very angry with Him and I said something like, \"Lord, I have given You everything. I have given You my future, my family, my home. And You reward me by taking away my health?\" <\/p>\n \n

\nI was so angry that I really did not care what God was going to say back to me. And so you can imagine my astonishment when He simply responded, \"I love you.\" My heart melted at those words.<\/p>\n \n

\nThat is when the revelation came to me. God said to me clearly, \"Carter, you have done a lot of things in My name. You have traveled, you have preached at many meetings, and good things have happened. But when you stand before Me one day, there will be no reward for any of it because I did not ask you to do that. You took it upon yourself to do those things, and that is why your strength is gone.\"At that point, the only thing left for me to say was, \"Lord, what do You want me to do?\" <\/p>\n \n

\n He said to me, \"There are one hundred and fifty-eight names on the membership roll of the church I have given you to pastor. That is the only thing I have asked you to do right now. When you stand before Me one day, these names will be presented to you, and you will answer for them-all one hundred and fifty-eight. Did you tell them about Me? Did you warn them about walking in rebellion to a holy God? Did you set before the ones who were struggling the hope that the cross offers?\" <\/p>\n \n

\nI remember standing on that road and saying, \"Lord, for the rest of my life, I will serve You where You plant me. I will not look beyond what You have given me to do.\" After that encounter with the Lord, I found myself fully given to that little church. A new joy came into my heart, and my physical strength began to return. <\/p>\n

\n\nNow let's take a look at what happened to the third servant in this final reckoning: \"Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed'\"<\/span> (Matthew 25:24).<\/p>\n \n

\nThis was basically an accusation against the servant's lord. It would be like a man standing before God today, saying, \"You are a hard master. You have set me in a difficult place and are asking something of me that I cannot give. You expect me to produce a harvest when I cannot see Your hand reaching out to help me in any way. Where are You? Where is Your strength? Where is the fulfillment of Your promises?\" <\/p>\n \n

\nHow preposterous it would be for any of us to accuse Christ of not being faithful when we consider the cross and the miracle of the fullness of our salvation! We could never dare to stand before God and say, \"You put me in a hard place! You put me in a hard job and a hard neighborhood. You gave me a hard life and an impossible family situation, and You asked me to bear fruit there. But I don't see You anywhere!\" <\/p>\n \n

\n The third servant explained, \"I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours\"<\/span> (Matthew 25:25). In other words, \"I gave up on Your kingdom. I placed my hope in the things of this world. I buried this incredible call You gave to me and became so worldly that nobody could see You in my life! But I still believed that one day I could present myself to You, and somehow You would look at me and say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!'\"<\/p>\n \n

\nWhat a tragedy it is when people bury their testimony of Christ. About a year ago, a man whom I had known from many years before met me backstage at church. He greeted me, and I said to him excitedly, \"You're saved! That's amazing! When did you get saved?\" <\/p>\n \n

\n\"Oh, I have always been a Christian,\" he replied. <\/p>\n \n

\nThe only thing I could think was, \"Well, you sure could have fooled me!\" I suffered persecution for many years because I was standing for Christ, and not once did this man ever come to me and at least say, \"I am standing with you; I am a brother in the Lord. I am believing God for you and with you.\" Instead, his talent was buried deep in the earth.<\/p>\n

\n A FULL SUPPLY<\/span>
\n\nThe Scriptures tell us that the master looked at this third servant and said, \"You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed\"<\/span> (Matthew 25:26). In the original context of this verse, the master was saying to this servant, \"Is that really what you thought I was like?\" It was a question, not a statement. He was not agreeing with this man's assessment of him.<\/p>\n \n

\n\"So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away\"<\/span> (Matthew 25:27-29). In other words, \"If you were not willing to walk in what I was offering you, why didn't you at least pass it on to somebody who would?\" And so the talent was taken away. \"Give the strength that I promised to the one who wants it-to the one who believed I would give a full supply of life to accomplish what I have asked of him!\"<\/p>\n \n

\n You and I would be wise to ask God for the grace to not bury what He has given us. We must not assume that we are dealing with a Savior who puts us in a hard place and gives us nothing that would enable us to win the victory. The Lord is more than willing to supply us with every single thing we need. He will not allow us to be tested above what we are able to bear, but will make a way for us in the midst of every trial so that we are able to walk through it. And don't forget, you do not have to be great in the eyes of men. Just do well where you are; win the victory where you are planted. Stay in the marriage that you are in; raise the children that God gave you. Work diligently in the job you have, or search diligently for the one you don't have yet. Stand strong in your neighborhood; speak the truth when other people lie; speak kindly when vilification is on the lips of almost everyone around you. Walk morally clean; be given for others even when self-focus tends to be the dominating force of our day. <\/p>\n \n

\n Of course, we cannot do any of these things without the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, continue to ask God for the courage to live as a light in a darkened world; for the grace to move into what was formerly impossible for you. The Lord will be faithful to answer your prayers, for with His calling always comes His enablement. Remember, God has strategically placed you exactly where you are. You are in the family you need to be in; you are in your particular neighborhood and job for a reason. There is no happenstance with God! And so I encourage you to trust Him daily for the grace to fulfill all His purpose for your life-up until the very moment you stand before His throne and hear Him say, \"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord!\" <\/span>(Matthew 25:23)\n<\/p>"},"61":{"sm_title":"Bring Back the King","sm_id":"242","sm_desc":"September 13, 2105 - The dissolving of Godly order begins when a spiritual laziness rises up in our life. When we vacate the prayer meetings, we lose focus on God and the Cross. When we stop praying, laziness turns to lust, and we end up in situations that lead us into a spiritual death. It's time to get back in the battle and begin to pray and ask, King Jesus, to come back into every area of your life.","sm_jpg":"26655_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-12","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/09\/13s1\/20150913s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/09\/13s1\/20150913s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"Yf_CEBj8wAY","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/42951_sermon-newsletter-201512-bring-back-the-king.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"How they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, 'There is no help for him in God.' But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people\"<\/span> (Psalm 3:1-8).<\/p>\n \n

\nDavid penned this psalm during a season of deep personal sorrow. Many were turning against the testimony of God's power, provision, and order that had previously been established through his life. Now David found himself fleeing from his very own son, Absalom!<\/p>\n \n

\nWhat a contrast from not too long before when David had danced with all his might as the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 6:12-15). The purposes of God were being fulfilled through his life and people witnessed the power and provision that God was willing to give. However, David was now at a point where many concluded, \"There is no help for him in God.\" Even long-standing friends and warriors began to abandon him. In the natural, it looked like it was all over. David was getting old and was being driven out, but Absalom was young and strong. It appeared as if David was in too weakened a condition to make a difference anymore. Surely his best days were all in the past!<\/p>\n

\n A SENSE OF DEFEAT<\/span>
\nSomething similar is being spoken about America today as rebellion is mounting against the order of God. Voices are rising up, proclaiming that there is now a new order in place-a post-Christian society. All the while, the Church is regarded as too weak to make a difference.<\/p>\n \n

\nNow notice what eventually happened in David's day as a result of Absalom's rebellion: \"And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people crossed over. The king himself also crossed over the Brook Kidron, and all the people crossed over toward the way of the wilderness\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 15:23). Likewise, there is a sense of defeat among God's people today as the testimony of God is being driven into the wilderness. We have lost our voice and are regarded as mere bigots, intolerant and unnecessary. We are finally beginning to ask, \"Oh, God, what have we done? Why did we forsake the blessing of Your presence that was once upon our nation? You gave us incredible giftings, abilities, and prosperity, yet we let it slip through our fingers!\"<\/p>\n \n

\nAs David and his entourage were being driven into the wilderness, things only seemed to get worse. \"Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: 'Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!'\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 16:5-8). An unrestrained voice of cursing had risen against David in the land. Only a few years prior, it would have been unimaginable that such a thing could rise up against the anointing of God. <\/p>\n \n

\nThen Abishai, one of David's men who had remained faithful to him, said, \"Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 16:9). But David responded to him, \"Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 16:11). In other words, \"Don't touch him; the Lord has appointed him to do this.\" You see, David knew in his heart that he had been the cause of the difficulty and division that was plaguing his society. Even in his failure, David was still a man after God's own heart, and he was therefore not afraid to assume responsibility for what was occurring.<\/p>\n

\nSo what happened in David's life that led to such a point in the nation? I believe it all began years before when he allowed spiritual laziness to enter his life.<\/p>\n \n

\n\"It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 11:1). Herein began the dissolving of godly order: David started to send others out to battle while he stayed home. It was as if he figured he had fought long enough; he had won enough victories. Perhaps he just wanted to stop and smell the roses for a while. <\/p>\n \n

\nI can certainly identify with what David must have been feeling. I have had moments in my life when I wondered, \"God, how long do I have to carry this weight? I have been fighting for so long. Can't I simply enjoy things for a season?\" <\/p>\n \n

\nThis is a common struggle among God's people, particularly here in America. I cannot help but think about how we have largely vacated the prayer meeting and the personal work of God-personal holiness; personal evangelism. We gave our ten or twenty dollars a month to support the few missionary families that we sent out, and that became our contribution to the work of God. Meanwhile, we stopped going to the prayer meeting. We chose an easier way, saying, \"God, You have blessed us and won marvelous victories for us. Your name is still being honored; some voices are still speaking for You, so I think I am going to stay home. I am just going to rest for a bit because I have worked hard all day. Why do I need to go out and pray?\" We assumed that somebody somewhere else would carry the battle forward. Yet, once we left the prayer meeting, our diminishing began.<\/p>\n \n

\nThe Bible goes on to tell us what happened after David chose to stay home instead of going out to battle. \"Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof <\/span>(or today might I say, \"And from the Internet\") he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 11:2). David eventually ended up succumbing to lust and self-indulgence-another picture of what is happening in our day.<\/p>\n \n

\nI am currently reading a book that contains statistics regarding the moral state of the nation and the ministry. The number of Christians trapped in pornography is absolutely appalling-and it all started with laziness! When you are lazy, you will turn to lust because that is where your natural mind and body want to go. You get bored, so you start looking for things to pacify you, eventually looking in places where you should not be looking.<\/p>\n \n

\nOn top of that, the theology of \"self\" has gotten hold of us, setting the course for the moral decline in our nation. When we left the prayer meeting, we lost our focus on God. And when we lost our focus on God, we lost our focus on the cross and the commission of the Church to win the lost. Instead, we turned inward, and self-indulgence began to grip our hearts. Everything became about God's people coming to His house to find out what is in it for us today. We allowed for the rise of preachers who fed that lust in the people, telling them anything they wanted to hear so long as they continued to build the preachers' ministries and give them the glory they desired.<\/p>\n

\nSelf-indulgence in David's life led to sin-lying and even the murder of someone whose honest testimony exposed the bankruptcy of his own spiritual condition. But perhaps the most devastating effect was the consequences for the next generation. A wrong spirit ended up getting hold of Absalom, who was supposed to be the legitimate heir. Ironically, he started pursuing David in order to drive out of the nation the very anointing that should have been his!<\/p>\n \n

\nIf David had prayed and gone to battle, I am sure Absalom would have been there fighting by his side. After all, God had given David a promise that he would not fail to have a man of his lineage on the throne. Of course, it was ultimately fulfilled in Christ, but he had a physical promise as well. That is why David was so brokenhearted when Absalom was killed. \"O my son Absalom-my son, my son Absalom-if only I had died in your place!\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 18:33). \"You did not have to die; it was my spiritual death that caused this!\" David knew that Absalom should have had a crown on his head; he should have been governing in righteousness.<\/p>\n \n

\nLikewise, we are being pursued by a generation that would have been in the prayer room and \"reigning in life\" (as the Bible describes in Romans 5:17)-if only we had led them there. Yet, if we vacated the prayer meeting, how do we expect them to be there today? Just as David did, we ought to acknowledge our responsibility in the matter.<\/p>\n \n

\nHowever, the good news is that not only did David acknowledge his own failure, he prayed for mercy! As we saw in our opening psalm, David said, \"Many are they who say of me, 'There is no help for him in God.' But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head\"<\/span> (Psalm 3:2-3). We, too, can lift our heads from our shame. We can look at the failure in our lives and not be condemned by it. Like David, we can say, \"Lord, to us belongs shame of face, but to You belongs mercy. We have failed You in what we were called to do; but for Your great and holy name's sake, move one more time in this generation!\"<\/p>\n \n

\n\"I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill\"<\/span> (Psalm 3:4). This tells me that my prayers can still be heard; they can still move the hand of God. It reminds me that no nation is ever too far gone that mercy cannot touch it again. It tells me that the finest day of the Church of Jesus Christ may very well be upon us!<\/p>\n \n

\n\"I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me\"<\/span> (Psalm 3:5). God will sustain us; we will not be overcome or triumphed over. \"I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around\" (Psalm 3:6). In the natural, there is no reason we should have peace in this hour. However, the Lord promises to give us peace every day-a peace that passes understanding. \"Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the Lord. And Your blessing is upon Your people\" (Psalm 3:7-8). David was saying, \"Silence the voices that tell me that my life doesn't matter or that no good will ever come from it. Let Your blessing, in spite of my past failures, determine my future and that of those around me!\" <\/p>\n

\nWe see in the Scriptures that after Absalom's death, there was a spiritual awakening in Israel. A spiritual awakening happens when society's rebellion against God comes to a dead end, and people suddenly realize that those they are following have been leading them down a darkened path. The people finally recognize that they have lost something precious. However, they also see that there is still a chance to recover what used to be theirs.<\/p>\n \n

\n\"Now all the people were in a dispute throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, 'The king saved us from the hand of our enemies, he delivered us from the hand of the Philistines, and now he has fled from the land because of Absalom. But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now therefore, why do you say nothing about bringing back the king?' So King David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, 'Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, \"Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, since the words of all Israel have come to the king, to his very house?'''\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 19:9-11). King David himself, a Christ-type, was sending a message to those with spiritual influence and authority: \"Why are you the last to bring back the king?\"<\/p>\n \n

\nThat ought to be the cry of our hearts today as well-\"Bring back the King!\" Weeping endures for a night, but you and I have the hope that, as was the case with David, our nation will recognize what has been lost and will once again bring back the King! Bring back the King who heals, who delivers, who gives sight. Bring back the King who opens prison doors and puts a new song in every heart. Bring back the King into our streets, our schools and our colleges!<\/p>\n \n

\nOf course, it begins with you and me. That means it is time to bring the King back into our personal lives. We must get off our rooftops and get our eyes off things they should not be on. Where we have failed, where we have drifted or lost zeal for the kingdom of God-bring back the King! Where our heart for the lost and the poor has grown cold-bring back the King! And I assure you that when the King comes home, there will be joy, dancing, and shouts of victory unlike anything we have ever known! Hallelujah!<\/p>"},"62":{"sm_title":"Still, Small Voices","sm_id":"240","sm_desc":"December 14, 2014 - The power of God is in a still small voice that has at its core, a calm confidence that declares all is well. Be mindful that in the midst of chaotic speech and the clutter and calamity of this society, God wants to use His people to reveal His peace and power. Your voice can make a difference in someone's life.","sm_jpg":"25137_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-11","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/12\/14s1\/20141214s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/12\/14s1\/20141214s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"HSCdYxtMkKg","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/26794_sermon-newsletter-201511-still-small-voices.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, 'So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.' And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, 'It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'\"<\/span> (1 Kings 19:1-4).<\/p>\n \n

\nThis was a season of intense spiritual conflict, very much like the day in which you and I live. Secular powers were bent on eradicating the worship of the true God and as a result, Elijah, the servant of God, became discouraged to the point of depression. <\/p>\n \n

\nNow keep in mind that Elijah had just witnessed the fire of God coming down on the altar that he had built. The sacrifice, and even the stones, wood and water were all consumed by the presence of God. When the people saw it, they cried out, \"The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God!\" (see 1 Kings 18:38-39). A day of intense conflict had seemingly been swallowed up in victory. It was so glorious that even godless King Ahab was astonished by it. He returned to his palace and told his queen, Jezebel, all that had occurred. However, it still was not enough to change the minds of those in power who were determined that godlessness should rule. <\/p>\n \n

\n I can imagine what must have gone through Elijah's mind at that point: \"Where can we possibly go from here? The fire of God has come down; the contest on Mt. Carmel has been won. God, I am fed up with what is going on in our society! I don't think any power can possibly be greater than what we have just witnessed, yet nothing has changed! What more can be done to convince this generation?\" <\/p>\n \n

\nI know many of us can empathize with Elijah regarding the hopelessness that creeps into the heart. We have those moments where we sigh, \"God, I am so sick and tired of the sin in our streets. I am tired of the evil speech that is even on our news programs. I am weary of the vilification of those who walk with God-how we are being cast out as bigoted and out of touch.\" <\/p>\n \n

\nAnd so we begin to think, as Elijah probably did, \"I thought and hoped my life would make a difference. But I do not know what more I can do! It seems as if my strength is depleting every day.\"<\/p>\n

\nHow did the Lord respond? He said to Elijah, \"'Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.' And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice\"<\/span> (1 Kings 19:11-12).<\/p>\n \n

\n As I read this passage, I cannot help but wonder if God was showing Elijah something more powerful than all those things he had come to associate with the power of God. <\/p>\n \n

\nThink about it: If somebody called you and said, \"Come to our church! The power of God is falling,\" you would immediately have a natural impression of what that looks like. Perhaps you would expect the glory of the Lord that filled the temple in Solomon's day or another outpouring of fire like on the day of Pentecost, breaking all the hard hearts into pieces before God. But what was God showing Elijah here? <\/p>\n \n

\nThe Lord passed by him, and a strong wind broke the rocks before him. In Elijah's life and ministry, he had come to believe that the power of God's divine breath could break anything in its path. However, the Scripture says that the Lord was not in that display of power. Then came an earthquake and a fire. Elijah had known that the power of God's presence could shake the earth and cause fear to fill the hearts of the people. Yet it says that God was not in the earthquake or the fire either.<\/p>\n \n

\nFinally God came with a power that Elijah did not expect-the power of a still, small voice. In the original text, something calm is depicted; something that is not grand in the sight of man; something not associated with greatness or power to the casual observer. <\/p>\n \n

\nConsider what the prophet Isaiah said to the people in a time of spiritual decline: \"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.' But you would not\"<\/span> (Isaiah 30:15). In other words, \"I want to give you a peace that passes understanding. I want to bring a quietness into your heart in the midst of the chaos around you-when everybody is searching for an elusive society that cannot be found apart from God; when everything seems to be spiraling out of control.\" <\/p>\n \n

\n\"And you said, 'No, for we will flee on horses'-Therefore you shall flee! And, 'We will ride on swift horses'-Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, and at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill. Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him\"<\/span> (Isaiah 30:16-18). <\/p>\n \n

\n Here is what the Lord was saying to His people: \"Okay, do it your way! Try to find strength in whatever way you think you can. But when you are tired and have finally discovered that you have no strength in and of yourself-that your own plans or even things that worked in the past will not work in this hour-I will be gracious to you there.\" It will be a place of graciousness! The thought in the original text is of \"a place where the strong and the weak negotiate; the poor and needy are shown kindness.\" <\/p>\n \n

\nWhen we have finally exhausted all of our strategies and resources, God will come and speak to us in a soft, quiet, confident way that will settle our hearts and give us the strength to go forward. <\/p>\n

\nI have been in some incredible church services-times when the presence and power of God filled the sanctuary. But I have found that some of the more profound moments in my life were when ordinary people came with a still, small voice. For example, I remember years ago in Canada, we ended up buying our first church for a dollar. God gave me a vision of what He was about to do, so we started renovating the building accordingly. On day one, there were probably fifty people working with me. I looked around and felt almost like Solomon when he was building the temple. \"This is awesome! This place is going to glorify God!\" <\/p>\n \n

\nHowever, after a few hours we realized that there was a ton of work to do. By day two, there were maybe forty-five people. By day three, forty. By the following week, there was me! <\/p>\n \n

\nI stood in that building all by myself, gazing at all that still needed to be done, and my heart just sank. \"Oh, God, can the people not see what You are about to do? How long will it be before the culture of North America escapes this 'what's in it for me?' attitude? How long will it be before the people understand what You have put into our hands in this season-the privilege of being a testimony in an area that has not had a testimony of God for almost a hundred years?\" <\/p>\n \n

\n I remember the discouragement that came into my life that day-the despair of trying to lead people who were seemingly not laying hold of what God had spoken to me. My hands started to drop, and the little thought came, \"Is it really worth all the work to try to get this done?\" <\/p>\n \n

\nThat was one of the lowest points of my early days of ministry. It was nearing the end of the day, and the sun was going down. The ground was covered in sawdust, and the air was thick with dust. But suddenly as I looked up, I saw the silhouette of two little ladies standing in the big arched doorway. And then they started walking toward me. <\/p>\n \n

\nThese two ladies were very old and frail. In fact, they were so old that they had to lean on each other as they shuffled toward me. As I watched them approach, wondering what they wanted, in a quiet, small voice, one of them said to me, \"Pastor, you are doing a good job. The community is not the same since you came here. Don't be discouraged.\" And then the other lady took a fifty-dollar bill, put it in my hand, and said with a very soft voice as well, \"Don't give up.\" <\/p>\n \n

\nOh, what strength came into my heart when they spoke those words! I suddenly had the encouragement that I needed to go forward. It turned out that they were Christians who lived in another area and attended another church, but they had felt led of the Lord to come and visit me.<\/p>\n

\n A CHILD'S VOICE <\/span>
\nIn the book of Luke, we see yet another time that society was in total upheaval. People were clamoring for influence and authority and the place where the testimony of God physically dwelt was being dominated by a foreign power. It was no doubt a time of great discouragement and resentment for many, as they were being moved about the country simply for the purposes of being counted and taxed. <\/p>\n \n

\nI can imagine the cries of the people in the inns as they read the Scriptures. \"God, where are You? Don't You have power to make a difference? Aren't You the God who divided the Red Sea to make a way for Your people to pass through? Aren't You the God who once sent fire to the prophet Elijah and burned the offering, turning the people back to Yourself? Show Your power once again in this generation!\"<\/p>\n \n

\n I am sure there were prayer meetings and people crying out to God, for there were religious and devout people in that generation. However, while everyone had a mental picture of what the power of God should look like, suddenly something came on the scene that was not understood. Nobody expected God to show His power in this manner and give His people strength to go forward. In the midst of all the voices, the clamoring of the hooves of Roman horses, the chanting of religionists, the plotting of those who thought they could overthrow oppression by force, the power of God appeared-and it was a child's voice! It was not the wind, fire, or an earthquake-it was a whisper in a manger. Yet, who was able to hear it? Who was able to understand the power of God? <\/p>\n \n

\nThe religious could not hear it. The movers and shakers could not hear it. The self-focused could not hear it; neither could the Romans who were intent on dominating with power. And so God went to a few shepherds in a field, broke open the veil between time and eternity, and sent angels to burst forth singing, \"Glory to God in the highest! On earth peace, goodwill toward men!\" (see Luke 2:13-14). In other words, everything you have ever longed for has come! <\/p>\n \n

\nThose shepherds rose up and went to the manger, only to find nothing more than a baby's whisper. It would have been such a still, small voice that everybody had to be quiet in order to hear it. Yet in the end, \"the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them\"<\/span> (Luke 2:20). In the natural, this would have been regarded as foolishness! But this still, small voice was the power of God being made known to man once again. <\/p>\n

\nIn the last book of the Old Testament, the prophet Malachi spoke about something that had occurred and will happen again among God's people in a season of spiritual decline. \"Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another\" <\/span>(Malachi 3:16). What were they speaking? Were they not speaking to each other before this moment in history? What was it about their speech that changed?<\/p>\n \n

\n\nThe Scriptures tell us that \"anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad\"<\/span> (Proverbs 12:25). It also says, \"A word spoken in due season, how good it is\" <\/span>(Proverbs 15:23) and instructs us to let our speech \"always be with grace, seasoned with salt\" <\/span>(Colossians 4:6). <\/p>\n \n

\n\n\nHere is the point: There is incredible power in confident, calm speech. You and I must encourage one another now! We do not need the fire or the earthquake or the wind. Those things are wonderful, and if God should choose to do that, then so be it. But there is something more powerful than all those put together, particularly in this hour. It is that still, small voice of confidence in God. It is the voice that says, \"All is well. God is in control of your situation, my sister, my brother. God is still on the throne. Jesus still is the victor, and we are still more than conquerors.\" <\/p>\n \n

\nYou have no idea how much power God is willing to pour through your life as you walk through your day-in your neighborhood, your workplace, or your home-simply speaking words of confidence in the goodness and faithfulness of God. Therefore, let us not be like the people of Isaiah's day who, when the Lord wanted to give them quietness and confidence, refused. Let us open our hearts to the Lord and begin to speak to one another in those still, small voices. We will discover the incredible privilege of being an ambassador of the power of God to this generation!
\n<\/p>"},"63":{"sm_title":"Finding the Will of God","sm_id":"238","sm_desc":"July 5, 2015 - If you have it in your heart to do the divine will of God you will know truth and God will answer your prayers. There is a unique will of God which is what God has set you apart for, and there is the revealed will of God, which is what we are all called to do. Don't run after the unique will of God, if you have not obeyed the revealed will of God. Determine in your heart to do the will of God and God will empower you with His Spirit.","sm_jpg":"26464_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-10","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/07\/05s1\/20150705s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/07\/05s1\/20150705s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"0ERBiarRypE","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/26693_sermon-newsletter-201510-finding-the-will-of-god.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"How can I find the will of God? How can I be sure that I am walking in His will for my life?\" <\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n Have you ever found yourself asking these questions? Do you find the topic of the will of God confusing, or do you live with the constant fear that you are missing His will for your life? If so, I hope that by the end of this newsletter you will have a better understanding of what the will of God is about.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nTo begin, let's look at a statement that Jesus Himself made concerning the will of God: \"If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority\"<\/span> (John 7:17). In other words, this applies to anybody who wants to do the will of God-people who are not praying or going to church simply to get God to agree with their will, although this is common in much of Christianity today. In fact, it is as if we have inverted the truth into, \"Lord, not Thy will but mine be done!\" There is no shortage of preachers who will tell the people anything they want to hear concerning their own will, their own vision of themselves, or how they see their future playing out.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nHowever, according to Jesus, if you have it in your heart to do the will of God, you will understand and know what truth is. You will know His voice that says, \"This is the way, walk in it.\" <\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nSince the time I was a young Christian, I wanted to do the will of God-even though I did not always fully understand what that was going to look like in my life. I remember going to church, sitting in the congregation and listening to the preacher, and thinking, \"How in the world can these people sit under this kind of message? Don't they see how off track this is?\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nMost of the time they sat and listened because they did not really will to do the will of God. People simply wanted to go to church so that they could be blessed. They wanted their finances and their sphere of influence to increase. They lived with the sentiment, \"Lord, if it fits into my parameters of what I think Your will should be, then fine-I'm in! But if it doesn't, I don't want to hear it.\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nWhen people do not want to do the will of God, the first thing that comes into their lives is doctrinal confusion, eventually followed by an inability to discern truth. As their prayers go unanswered, they come to the conclusion that God doesn't speak to them. However, the bottom line is that they do not really want to do the will of God. They want their lives to be extraordinary-they want the crowds; they want to raise the dead, lay hands on the sick and have them recover; they want to speak in tongues and all the rest of it, but they do not want to do obey the revealed will of God.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nFirst of all, let us distinguish between the \"revealed will of God\" and whatI call the \"unique will of God\"-or those things that the Lord has set you apart for-what He has called you, exclusively, to do for Him. Oftentimes the unique will of God leads you to an unfamiliar place, and it initially comes as a strong impression on your heart.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nOn the other hand, the revealed will of God is the practical part of His will, to which all of us are collectively called. You do not have to go searching all over the place for it-it is right there in the Bible. If you take a concordance and look under the word \"will,\" you will see that the will of God is clearly revealed throughout the Scriptures, particularly in the New Testament. Let's look at some examples.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nThe apostle Paul says, \"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor\"<\/span> (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). This is where we need to start, especially in this generation. We must turn away from sexual immorality in all of its forms. We must ask God for the strength to live a holy life, set apart for Him.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nContinuing in First Thessalonians, we find another example of the revealed will of God: \"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you\"<\/span> (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In everything give thanks-which means you ought to give thanks for the home you are in, the marriage you are in, the job you have, the family you are a part of. Learn to be thankful instead of constantly praying, \"Oh, God, get me out of here and I will serve You; get me out of here and I will love You! There will be no greater worshiper than me if You will just get me out of this place!\" <\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n But the Lord says, \"No, that is not My will! My will is that you learn to give thanks where you are. You are going to learn to win the victory where I have placed you.\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nOr consider the verse: \"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her\"<\/span> (Ephesians 5:25). I remember the first time I read that, I blurted out, \"Oh, right, that's easy for you to say!\" After all, the apostle Paul was single! However, we cannot ignore any aspect of the revealed will of God. <\/p>\r\n

Do not focus on being a great missionary or preacher if you do not love your wife as Christ loves the Church. If you are not willing to be given for her, then put down the illusion of this unique calling coming out of heaven into your life one day.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n As you continue to read through the Scriptures, you will find that it is also the will of God that we learn to speak the truth. After all, this is a kingdom of truth, and we represent the One who said, \"I am the way, the truth, and the life\"<\/span> (John 14:6). It is the will of God that we be loyal and dependable, and that we do not quit when things do not go right. Be loyal in the workplace as an employee who shows up on time and leaves at the proper time, not before. Be helpful; be concerned about others. Reach outside of your own sphere-beyond your own struggles, trials, concerns, and desires. Don't be a person who does the will of God only when it feels right or if it is convenient. Ask God for a heart to genuinely care about other people.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nOften while we are doing the revealed will of God, the unique will of God just seems to start to find us. That is the key. I have never \"found\" the will of God for my life. As I did the practical things, the unique will of God simply began to unfold before me. I simply walked, the best I knew how, in the way that all who are called by the name of Christ are supposed to walk. Eventually, I began to get strong impressions on my heart that would not go away.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nTo be honest, most of the time the will of God was not something I naturally wanted to do. For example, I had to get up early every morning to feed the animals on our farm, drive thirty-six miles to work, work an eight-hour shift, and then drive thirty-six miles back home. Again I had to feed the animals, tuck my kids into bed, and then head off to conduct a Bible study that was another nine or ten miles away. Sometimes on snowy nights it was incredibly difficult to even see the road. But as I remained faithful to what God called me to do, the unique will of God began to unfold in my life.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nOne day, the group of people in my Bible study said, \"There has been no testimony of God within these forty square miles for a hundred years. We ought to be a church!\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nI remember saying, \"Well, if we want to be a church, then I will go find us a pastor so that we have a covering.\" I met with the leader of a denomination in our country at that time and asked if he would be able to get us a pastor. He asked me, \"Are you willing to pastor this church?\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n\"No, sir! No chance!\" I replied. I was doing very well in my career. Besides that, I was once on the board of a large church, and I had seen some of the inner workings that made me disinterested in getting involved at that level again. So he finally told me that they would conduct a search for a pastor.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nIn the meantime, our group had to change our location to a hotel in the middle of town. It was quite the place. We had to turn over the girlie posters and empty the ashtrays, and the children's church was held in the \"men only\" room. Yet, God continued to bring more people until we were packed out! I agreed to pastor the church for about six months until we could find a permanent pastor. But the whole time, the will of God kept coming back to me. One day as I was preaching, I glanced out the window and saw a little brown sparrow sitting in the driveway. It was the middle of winter, so it was just pecking at the snow. I was suddenly reminded of the Scripture that says, \"Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God...Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows\"<\/span> (Luke 12:6-7). The Lord then asked me, \"Can you not trust Me with your future? Can you not trust Me to look after you and your family?\" <\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n I did not want to hear that! However, not too long after, I was in the mall with my partner, working in criminal intelligence in the police department. Suddenly some suspicious-looking characters entered the mall and were nearing the bank. My partner turned to me and said, \"You do have your gun on you today, don't you?\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n\"No, I forgot it in my locker again,\" I replied.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nAnd right there in the mall, my partner, an unsaved man, said, \"You are called to preach the gospel! Carter, you are a nice guy, but your heart is no longer here. Your heart is in another place. I'm telling you, you have got to go do what God is calling you to do!\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nI had done the revealed will as well as I knew how, and now here was the unique will of God for my life! I finally went back to the denomination's leader and said, \"God has been speaking to me to pastor this church. If you would like me to, you can cancel the search.\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n\"There has been no search,\" he replied. \"I knew you were the pastor all along!\"

\r\nThe unique will of God has led me into many places throughout my life, and it has been an incredible journey. However, we must learn to do the first things first. Therefore, come back to your first love if you need to; open the Word of God and begin to read it. Don't live in an illusion that one day this mystical will of God will fall into your lap while you are choosing to ignore the revealed will of God.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nAs the Scripture says, \"This is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men\"<\/span> (1 Peter 2:15). This is the revealed will of God-doing good; speaking the truth; caring in an uncaring time; praying when nobody else prays; studying when everyone else is writing off the Word of God; speaking the name of Jesus when everyone else wants to curse His name. This is where character is formed! You have to win the battles in secret before you can win them in public. Remember, you will not become a super evangelist who loves everybody if you have not learned to love people in private. That is how it works. So do not worry so much about finding the unique will of God for your life; it will come to you. Concern yourself today with the revealed will of God, and the unique will of God will surely follow.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\n Paul said in the book of Ephesians that we \"should do the will of God from our hearts\" (see Ephesians 6:6). And so I encourage you today to ask God for the will to do His will. Come to Him and say, \"Lord, open my heart to what You have for my life. Don't let me consider anything as too small or too undignified. Help me to be the one who sees a piece of paper on the floor and picks it up. Help me to be kind, truthful, and faithful; a builder rather than a destroyer. Help me to be one who will promote unity in the midst of a divided society. Yet, let me also be willing to take a stand for truth when everyone else is content to deal with lies. Lord, give me the courage to follow You fully.\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

\r\nAs you trust God for the will to do His will, I believe Jesus will be revealed to you in a way that you have never known Him. You will be absolutely amazed at where God is going to take you and what He will do through your life!<\/p>"},"64":{"sm_title":"Searching the House for a Bride","sm_id":"237","sm_desc":"May 31, 2015 - God's Holy Spirit is searching for an end time bride so He can draw them out of the natural into the supernatural. Are you willing to allow Jesus to take you from where you are so you can live a morally clean life? We are invited to come to God with a sincere heart and pray specific prayers so God can empower us, to be His last day testimony on the earth. ","sm_jpg":"25729_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-09","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/05\/31s1\/20150531s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/05\/31s1\/20150531s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"Ye-nasd04GQ","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/26596_sermon-newsletter-201509-searching-the-house-for-a-bride.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, \"Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from among the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:1-4).<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Abraham was the man to whom God had made the incredible promise: \"I am going to bless you and multiply you, and through you the whole world is going to be blessed\" (see Genesis 22:17-18). You and I know that the fulfillment of this promise was ultimately made through Jesus Christ and His Church, of which we are a part. As the Scripture says, we are blessed with faithful Abraham.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Although he had been given this promise, by the time Abraham was nearing the end of his life, all he had was one son born of faith-Isaac. He had another son born of human effort, Ishmael, but God said that son would not be an inheritor of the promise. Remember, the promises of God are supernatural and they cannot be achieved by human effort. And so in this passage, we see that Abraham was searching for a wife for Isaac<\/p>\r\n \r\n

In order to accomplish this, Abraham turned to the oldest servant of his house-the one who ruled over all he had. Similarly, God the Father has sent His Holy Spirit to search out and prepare an end-time bride for His Son, Jesus Christ-starting in the house of God. Remember that this bride was to be part of the family of Abraham, for it says, \"You will not take a wife for my son from among the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:3-4)<\/p>\r\n \r\n

As Abraham was living a super-natural life, so too would this bride be drawn from a place of the natural into the supernatural. That is exactly what God is looking for once again-a people willing to undertake a journey that will bring them out of struggling in the flesh to live a Christian life into the place of the supernatural where God says, \"I will multiply you; I will bless you and make you a blessing. It will not be by might nor by power but by My Spirit. I will do a work within you and cause you to become everything I have destined you to be.\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

This supernatural strength found in Christ is available to all who want to partake of it. However, they must be willing to follow the Lord rather than attempting to bring Him back to where they are. After all, the passage goes on to tell us, \"The servant said to [Abraham], 'Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?' But Abraham said to him, 'Beware that you do not take my son back there'\" <\/span>(Genesis 24:5-6). In other words, do not bring Jesus back to a place of the natural and make Him like every other idea in the land. He is a supernatural God. We made a grave error when we brought Jesus into our society and made Him like us-essentially making Him into a natural Savior.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Abraham went on to say, \"The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, 'To your descendants I give this land,' He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:7-8). In other words, \"God will send a messenger before you to prepare the hearts of those whom you will encounter. He will make a way for this bride to come to where my son Isaac is. However, the choice will ultimately be hers.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

So Abraham's servant took ten camels and journeyed to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor. As he stood by a well, he prayed a specific prayer: \"Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, 'Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,' and she says, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink'-let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master. And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:13-15).<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Before he was even finished speaking, the answer came! There was Rebekah-the very bride who was appointed for Isaac. As we continue on in this passage, we see four characteristics about this bride that made her the perfect choice for Abraham's son- which also apply to the Bride that the Father is now searching out for His own Son.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n \"Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:16). In other words, she was morally pure. Sadly, many people in the Body of Christ today are not morally clean. They are looking at pornography; they are involved in premarital sex and all kinds of immorality. They still want the power of God in their life; however, if we are not willing to walk morally clean, we will never know the power of God.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

As the apostle Paul said, \"Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God has both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power\"<\/span> (1 Corinthians 6:13-14). The good news is that God is willing to give us the power to be clean.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

No matter how we lived in the past, all our sins have been covered by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. If we have received Christ as Lord and Savior, that means when God looks at us, He sees us as clean and pure; lovely and undefiled. However, we must not continue to live an immoral lifestyle when God is giving us the power to walk in purity.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n \"When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, 'I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.' Then she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:19-20). The second characteristic of this bride was that when she saw a need, she was willing to give of herself in order to meet it. In other words, she was unselfish. This man had come on a long journey, and he had ten camels with him. Now a thirsty camel can drink thirty gallons of water in thirteen minutes. Since there were ten camels, that was three hundred gallons of water. Assuming Rebekah could carry about a five-gallon pitcher on her shoulder, that means she had to make sixty trips to the well! The wells in those days generally had steps which led down to the pool of water. So Rebekah had to go down the steps, fill up the jug, come back up, pour the water in the trough, and then go back down the steps to fill up again. Repeating that sixty times was certainly no light undertaking! Yet, she did it not because of bribing or plotting but simply out of the kindness of her heart.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

In the same way, as the Bride of Christ, we cannot simply walk away from human need-no matter how inconvenient or what the personal cost. Nor can we just go to church or open the Bible and ask, \"What's in it for me today?\" Our hearts must be full of the compassion of God that causes us to say, \"What can I do to help people around me who are in need?\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n \"Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please, is there room in your father's house for us to lodge?\" So she said to him, \"I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah's son, whom she bore to Nahor.\" Moreover she said to him, \"We have both straw and feed enough, and room to lodge.\" Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:23-26). Here we see a third characteristic of this bride: She knew the heart of her father. She was unashamed to be declared as his child, and she even boasted of his generosity.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

And so my question for you today is: Do you truly know the heart of your heavenly Father? Do you fully understand how much God wants to give His Holy Spirit to those who ask? Do you know how generous He is? Or when you are out sharing with people, do you feel as if you are constantly trying to eke out whatever little bits of kindness you can from God, thus making Him appear to be a stingy, begrudging old grandfather who does not actually want to give any inheritance to His children?<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Oh, how Rebekah boasted of her father! \"I am his daughter, and we have straw, food and room for all of you!\" Imagine your child coming home with ten camels and probably at least twenty men, saying, \"Hey, Dad, look what I found!\" She really had to know the heart of her father.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

I am reminded of a time years ago when I was driving my middle son back from a hockey game. My son had a couple of very hungry hockey players with him, so we all stopped at McDonald's. Everybody proceeded to take out the little bit of money they had. I was standing in line behind them, and suddenly my son turned to his two friends and said, \"Put your money away, guys. My dad will pay!\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Now in those days, I was a pastor in a small country town and hardly made enough to pay the electricity bill of our house. I watched as the boys placed their orders-it was all \"double-double, super-size me!\" Yet I did not care if I had to dig into my gasoline fund for the next week-there was no way in my heart that I would embarrass my son. The Scripture tells us, \"If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him?\" (see Luke 11:13). You and I must be willing to boast of our Father's generosity. But in order to boast of it, we have to know and experience it personally. We must not only open our hearts to Him, but we must also be willing to walk with Him. The Father's generosity is not given to those who choose to sit on the couch watching television all day. Yet, when you get up and walk with Him, the floodgate of heaven opens, and all the resources that Christ won for us suddenly become available.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

This is exactly what happened when the servant saw the quality of Rebekah's character. The Bible tells us that he \"brought out jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother\" <\/span>(Genesis 24:53).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n \"We will call the young woman and ask her personally.\" Then they called Rebekah and said to her, \"Will you go with this man?\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:57-58). Here we see that there was a final test and one more characteristic of this bride that we should take note of: She was willing to make the personal decision to follow where the servant was leading. In other words, she was willing to walk away from the familiar in order to obtain the promise.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

When Rebekah said, \"I will go!\" they blessed her and said, \"Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands.\" This blessing was fulfilled-she was grafted into the lineage of Jesus Christ, and we are descendants of her through Jesus Christ. \"And may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them\" <\/span>(Genesis 24:60). In other words, we will have spiritual authority over all the plans of darkness that will come to try to steal, kill and destroy. God will fight for us; He will be our strength and our defense.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

Of course, just as Rebekah did, each of us must make the personal decision to follow Christ fully. It is a personal choice to walk in purity, to be available for the needs of others, to know the Father's generosity, and to be able to tell others about it. And so the messenger who stands before you, the Holy Spirit, is asking you today, \"Will you be a bride that is fit for my Master's Son?\"<\/p>\r\n \r\n

The good news is that when you choose to go with God, everything that once had the power to hold you back must let you go. \"Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, 'The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you either bad or good. Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master's son's wife, as the Lord has spoken'\"<\/span> (Genesis 24:50-51). Laban and Bethuel represented the former authorities in Rebekah's life that once held her back. Yet, now all they could say was, \"We cannot say one thing or the other because this comes from the Lord.\" In other words, there is no power of hell, no lack, no past experience, no words that have been spoken over your life that can stop you from being all that God has called you to be in Christ! Every prison door must open; all old bondages have to let you go. All you have to do is get up and listen to the voice of God.<\/p>\r\n \r\n

I will promise you one thing: You will have an incredible life when you choose to live for God. Yes, when you are determined to follow Him fully, there will still be difficult days. Yet, when you get to the end of your journey, you will realize that you would not trade a day of it, for you will have brought glory to the name of Christ. So do not be sold short of what God has for you. Let's all be part of the end-time Bride who glorifies Christ on the earth!<\/p>"},"65":{"sm_title":"Preparing for a Time of Suffering","sm_id":"235","sm_desc":"June 7, 2015 - How do we prepare for seasons of difficulty and fiery trials? Preparation includes separating yourself from all ungodliness and reminding yourself of how good and faithful God has been to you. God has the power to create a place of safety for you that cannot be seen with the natural eye. Don't throw away your confidence, remember an eternal kingdom of great joy is before you.","sm_jpg":"25801_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-08","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/06\/07s1\/20150607s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/06\/07s1\/20150607s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"TV5w1HI65Xk","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/26538_sermon-newsletter-201508-preparing-for-a-time-of-suffering.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Just prior to the striking of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, God began to warn our congregation here in New York City. Around July of that year, our church services were marked by a profound soberness. There were times when we pastors couldn't preach and the choir couldn't sing; we couldn't even pray. We would all just sit in silence. Nobody wanted to get up because the presence of the Lord was so strong. All the while, the continuous thought in all of our hearts was that we were about to face some very, very difficult days in the city. People would be running in the streets, terrified. We did not know exactly why, but we knew that we needed to be prepared to minister to them. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n Of course, not everybody was willing to hear this message. There were perhaps a few hundred who concluded, \"We didn't come here for this. We came here to be blessed! We didn't come to hear that a great calamity is coming to the city.\" And so they left. But when the towers were struck, an incredible sense of strength and stability was found among those who stayed. People were ready to minister; they rolled up their sleeves and said, \"Tell us what to do.\" We began to buy truckloads of water and food, and we sent people out onto the streets and down to Ground Zero. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nAs I think back on those events, I am reminded that if we are open to listening to the Lord, He never leaves us in a place where we will be caught off guard. However, it takes courage-courage for the preachers to speak whatever message God has given and courage for the people to hear it. David Wilkerson was such a preacher. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nIn 1987, God put a burden on his heart, and he founded Times Square Church. The Lord told him, \"I am sending you to New York City to gather a remnant. [In other words, those who desire a sincere walk with God through Jesus Christ.] I want you to warn the city that judgment is coming.\" The Lord gave Pastor David a vision of a thousand fires burning in New York City. He said these were race riots that would affect not only New York City but many major cities throughout the country. As we look around at our society, it is easy to conclude that those very days might be starting in our midst. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nBecause we were willing to receive the warning, we have been able to intercede. We have prayed in this church that there would be a thousand fires of revival burning in this city before those other days come-a thousand churches whose doors will not close, so that people can come in and seek God. This has been our prayer because the Bible tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment! It does not mean that judgment is not coming, but mercy takes away its finality when men and women find Christ as Savior. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n A FIERY TRIAL<\/span>
\r\nWe see in the Bible that even in the days of the early Church, the Lord was faithful to warn His people when suffering was on the horizon. For example, in the Book of Acts it says, \"And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar\"<\/span> (Acts 11:27-28). How did the early Church respond? \"Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea\"<\/span> (Acts 11:29). Something in their hearts bore witness to the word of warning, so they moved to make preparations for themselves as well as others who would be in need. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nThe apostle Peter also gave a word of warning to the people of God: \"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy\"<\/span> (1 Peter 4:12-13). This kind of message can be especially hard to embrace in times of peace-particularly when the Church is accepted in the world and vice versa. God's people can easily grow complacent and forget that they live in the midst of a society that can suddenly, even violently, become opposed to Christ and His followers. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n When Peter wrote this letter around A.D. 62-63, the Church was generally accepted and had been operating in relative peace. Yet, true to God's warning, opposition in Asia Minor continued to grow and was soon officially sanctioned by the government. In fact, they were actually only a year or two away from Rome being burned and the Christians receiving the blame for it and, consequently, their blood filling the streets. The Holy Spirit knew all this was about to occur, and that is why He put it on the heart of Peter to say, \"A trial is coming your way. Do not consider it a strange thing.\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nIn the same way, you and I should not be surprised when we find ourselves facing fierce opposition in the coming days. Hostility is already beginning to mount toward all that represents God and truth. According to the Bible, lawlessness will abound until the day God removes His restraining hand (see 2 Thessalonians 2:7). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nPeter said, \"Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad also with exceeding joy\"<\/span> (1 Peter 4:13). Rejoice in the sufferings of Christ! What a foreign doctrine this is to us today. Yet the Lord is encouraging us to remember that an eternal kingdom full of great joy lies just before us. Christianity is not simply about being happy in the here and now. Your life is merely a vapor (see James 4:14), and your time on this earth is only momentary.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nPeter continued, \"If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified\"<\/span> (1 Peter 4:14). In other words, if the world accepts you, it means that you are one of its own. But when you make the choice to step out of the ways of a fallen world and embrace the value system of God's holy Word, trusting that every promise God made to you will be fulfilled as you walk with Him, you truly become a new creation. Your life changes, your conversation changes, your heart changes, your motives change. So do not consider it strange when this world suddenly rejects you! <\/p>\r\n

\r\nJust as the early church heeded God's warning and started making preparations, now you and I must do the same. Let's look at a couple of ways that we can prepare ourselves for a time of suffering.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nAfter speaking of the fiery trial, Peter went on to say, \"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters\"<\/span> (1 Peter 4:15). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nFirst of all, we must not be murderers. Before you automatically consider yourself exempt from this warning, remember that the Bible states plainly, \"Whoever hates his brother is a murderer\" <\/span>(1 John 3:15). That means we must put away all forms of racism and other cultural issues that are bitterly dividing our society today. We must learn to forgive and not allow this spirit of murder and hatred to get hold of us. Jesus Christ died for all people! <\/p>\r\n

\r\n Secondly, according to the verse, we must not be thieves-unlawfully taking or withholding at somebody else's expense. Instead of being takers, we ought to be givers. As the Scripture says, \"Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need\"<\/span> (Ephesians 4:28). Let us not be selfish but instead live in a way that the love of Christ might be known through us.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nThirdly, we must separate ourselves from evil. \"Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you\"<\/span> (2 Corinthians 6:17). It is time to make the choice-get out of that relationship, leave that club, put that book down, get off that Internet site. It is time to fully separate ourselves from the things that are weakening and blinding us. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nAnd fourthly, we must not live as a busybody in other people's matters. That means we must stay away from gossip, being critical of others, and being too quick to speak unadvisedly.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nThe preparation does not end there. According to the book of Hebrews, each of us ought to \"recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings\"<\/span> (Hebrews 10:32). Remind yourself how faithful God has been-how He brought you through all your former struggles and trials! When you first came to Christ, perhaps your entire family thought you were crazy; your former friends did not want to hang out with you anymore. People would accuse you in the workplace simply because you chose to do what was right. And now, once again, you are facing a brunt of accusation on all sides. That is why it is important to recall how God showed Himself strong and brought you through in the past. He did not fail you, did He? Neither will He fail you in the days ahead. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n The writer of Hebrews says, \"For you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods...\"<\/span> (Hebrews 10:34). Many of these believers had not yet personally suffered, but they were well aware that others who had gone before them had suffered. When it says that they \"accepted the plundering of their goods,\" it means they were laying down their own plans and dreams-all their ideas about how their lives should work out. Instead, they were willing to embrace the plan of God for their lives, knowing it would likely entail a measure of suffering. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nThe verse goes on to say, \"...knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven\"<\/span> (Hebrews 10:34). This is essentially another way to be prepared for a time of suffering: Be assured, it will be worth it! No matter what we have to go through; no matter what people say or do to us, it will be worth it in the end. Remember, we are fighting for something eternal-not just for ourselves, but for others. We are fighting so that people might come to the saving knowledge of Christ. We are fighting so that we will have something to leave for the generation coming after us. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\"Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance\"<\/span> (Hebrews 10:35-36). We must not cast away our confidence when things start to get difficult. All of us need endurance-that inner ability not to quit-not to draw back and try to preserve ourselves. It will no doubt be a fearful time when the Gospel is no longer tolerated and God's people become the target of intense persecution once again. However, we must keep our confidence in God<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\"So that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 'For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith'\"<\/span> (Hebrews 10:36-38). Always remember, it will be hard for only a little while, and then one day you and I will be at the throne of grace! We will all say, \"Thank God, we made the right choice! Thank God, we were willing to hear His word of warning. Thank God, we turned to Him with all our hearts.\" It will be amazing-there will be testimonies throughout all eternity of how God kept us, how He walked with us, how He empowered us, how He changed us, and how He gave us that new Spirit He promised us! <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe good news is that eternity is not the only thing we have to look forward to. I believe our hearts are going to be filled with deep joy even in the midst of difficult days. There is going to be a fellowship in the Body of Jesus Christ such as you and I have never experienced in our lifetime. There will be rejoicing when we come together-times when we simply do not want to leave the house of God. The Lord is truly going to be our strength and our song. And He will give us the privilege of glorifying Him by allowing others to see His strength in us in a time of suffering. Sinners are going to come to us and say, \"Tell us the reason for the hope that you still have!\" You see, we will have hope because we heard the warning of God and took the time now to prepare. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nNo matter how difficult things may become, I certainly do not see the Church going out in a whimper. I see a victorious Church-a Church that is Christ-honoring, standing boldly in the power of the Holy Spirit, just as she began in the book of Acts. And so in this time of preparation, my prayer has been, \"Lord, take everything out of my life that will bring weakness into my heart. Let Your Spirit within me give me strength and cause my life to bring You honor.\" I encourage you to ask the Lord for those things you have need of, as well. Ask Him for courage, endurance, and confidence. Ask Him for the grace not to give up in your present trial or in the ones to come. I assure you, He will not fail you! And not only in a time of suffering but throughout all eternity, you will never regret having put your confidence in Him!\r\n<\/p>"},"66":{"sm_title":"Right Jesus - Wrong Time","sm_id":"232","sm_desc":"April 19, 2015 - When we come to Jesus Christ it doesn't mean we are exempt from suffering. Jesus shows us many examples where suffering can be part of the gospel. In Christ we are guaranteed the victory because He crossed that line into eternity. As long as we are in the world, we must not forget we still have to fight for the honor and testimony of Jesus Christ.","sm_jpg":"25643_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-07","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/04\/19s1\/20150419s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/04\/19s1\/20150419s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"32Ghkpc-9Q0","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/26454_sermon-newsletter-201507-right-jesus-wrong-time.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Jesus said, \"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world\"<\/span> (John 16:33). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nYou and I would be wise to consider these words that Jesus once spoke to His disciples, bearing in mind that in this life, we will have tribulation, trials, difficulties, opposition, sorrow, and sometimes even depression. We will be falsely accused, even slandered. Yet we can be of good cheer, for we have the promise of God that no matter how dark the days may become, we are all going to make it to the finish line. Remember, Jesus has already won the victory. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n In last month's newsletter, I gave an illustration of a football team coming out of the locker room and having to run through a paper wall in order to enter the game. That paper wall symbolizes everything you and I must break through-all the lies of the devil as to why we cannot go forward in God. The enemy succeeded in hindering the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt and were heading into the Promised Land. They stopped at the border, convinced that they could not go forward and claim what was lawfully theirs (see Numbers 13:32-33). They failed to understand that it was only a paper wall, and as a result, they ended up dying in the wilderness. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nSo now let's assume that we as a team have broken through the paper wall, and now we are all lined up on the field. It's the opening kickoff. Somebody from our team backs into the end zone, catches the ball, and starts running toward the opposing team's goal. However, all of a sudden he stops, spikes the ball on his own ten-yard line, and begins to do a victory dance. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nFor those of you not familiar with football, players do not spike the ball until they cross into the opposing team's end zone. It is meant to be a celebration of having won the victory of that moment. Therefore, imagine how incredible it would be to see a player spike the ball on his own ten-yard line and then start dancing, wondering why his team is staring at him with a puzzled look on their faces! The audience is not cheering, and the opposing team is still coming at him. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\"I thought I had won,\" he would say. \"What's the problem? When we were in the locker room before the game, we were told that we are more than conquerors! We were told that someone from our team is already in the end zone, and we have already won the victory! So why does everybody have a problem with me claiming the full victory on our own ten-yard line? I just don't get it.\" And so this confused player turns around and heads back to the locker room, filled with sorrow. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS<\/span>
\r\nThis is essentially what happened with two disciples of Jesus in Luke 24. They, too, had been given incredible promises: \"You are going to become partakers of a marvelous victory! Whatever you pray for, you shall receive. You are going to be kings and priests; you will rule and reign with Jesus at the right hand of God for all of eternity.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\nYet the Scriptures tell us that these two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles away from Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the place of victory; however, they were now heading away from it-discouraged and disillusioned. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\"And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they could not know Him. And He said to them, \"What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?\" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, \"Are You only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?\" And He said to them, \"What things?\" So they said to Him, \"The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel\"<\/span> (Luke 24:14-21). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n These disciples had walked with the right Jesus. They knew Him; they had heard His voice. Jesus had made no secret of the fact that He was headed to a cross and that His Church would be left in the world. Yet His disciples had somehow assumed that the victory He spoke of would be immediate-that they would rule and reign with Jesus, and Rome would be overthrown in a moment of time. It is as if in their hearts they started spiking the ball at their own ten-yard line. Therefore, when Jesus was taken captive, beaten beyond recognition, put on a cross and crucified, they came to the conclusion that this Jesus they were following could not really be the Messiah. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nOf course you and I know they had the right Jesus-just the wrong time. They neglected to see that there were still ninety more yards between where they were and the fulfillment of that victory-the true celebration at the throne of God. In the meantime, the opposing team was still coming at them; they would still have to pray and fight. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nThis serves as a reminder for you and me that although victory is assured, it does not exempt us from fighting the battle that is currently before us. We must remember not to make the mistake of declaring the victory too soon. The Apostle Paul had to speak a similar word to the Corinthian church: \"You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us-and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you\" <\/span>(1 Corinthians 4:8). The Corinthians had fallen under the delusion: \"Why suffer? The victory has already been won! We are already full, we are already rich. We will never get sick again. There will be no more trials and no more sorrow. Isn't that what the Bible says?\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\nYes, it is true. The Scriptures do tell us that one day there will be no more sorrow, no more trials, no more difficulties, no more tears and no more sighing. But it does not say that we won't have to go through those things while we are still here on earth. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n Yes, we are guaranteed that at the end of this life, we are going to sit with Jesus, ruling and reigning with Him. We are going to have a mansion in glory and will one day walk on streets of gold. We will stand before the throne of God, and we will hear Him say, \"Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things, so I will make you ruler over many things. Enter now into the joy of the Lord!\" (see Matthew 25:21). All that is going to come...but in the end zone. Between here and there is a ninety-yard journey that you and I have to make; battles that we still have to fight. We are not fighting for our own salvation, for we already have that in Christ. We are fighting now for the testimony and the honor of God in the earth. We are fighting so that Christ may become known to those who are still living outside of His kingdom and His victory.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n A SIGN TO OTHERS<\/span>
\r\nIt is encouraging to remember that one of the reasons we will have tribulation in this world is because it is often the only way people around us will ever know that God is real. You and I will have to walk through the same fire, the same flood, the same difficult days as everybody else. However, the difference is that we have an inner source of strength that will carry us through and give us a song. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nThat is why the psalmist David wrote, \"He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth\"<\/span> (Psalm 40:2-3). This did not mean that David would not have other battles to fight. He still had to get in his chariot and contend for the ground that the enemy was trying to take from the people of God. However, David now had a song inside his heart that could not be silenced by his circumstances. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\"Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord\"<\/span> (Psalm 40:3). In other words, when people see the strength of God in you as you have to walk through the same difficulties they do, they will stand back in awe, saying, \"Surely there must be a God! We are both walking through the same waters, yet what is drowning me seems to be replenishing him. That person has an inner strength I don't have!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nPaul said it this way: \"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation...\"<\/span> (2 Corinthians 1:3-6). Paul was never one to hide the fact that there would be trials in the Christian life. Later in that passage, he even goes on to say, \"We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life\"<\/span> (2 Corinthians 1:8). Paul was explaining, \"Yes, we are going to go through trials, but God is going to comfort us. And with the comfort that we receive, we are going to be able to comfort others who find themselves in sorrow and confusion.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n WALK WITH THEM<\/span>
\r\nIn the coming days, I believe that many Christians will need to experience the comfort of the Lord. Just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, some followers of Jesus in our generation will find themselves full of dismay. It will be those who have been sitting in places where preachers convinced them that coming to Jesus meant they would be exempt from all suffering and trials. \"Life with Jesus will be amazing! You will have a wonderful job and ministry. Plus, if you give God a hundred dollars, He owes you a hundred thousand back!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n And so they embrace the promises with excitement. However, one day they realize that the money doesn't come back; suddenly jobs are lost. Chaos begins to break out in their city. As trials and difficulties come upon them and sorrow floods their hearts, they will be left wondering, \"Did I get the short end of the stick? What happened to all the promises of who I was going to be and what I was going to have?\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nIt is as if they were all dancing, only to suddenly realize that the opposing team is still running at them! You see, when someone spikes the ball too soon in football, it is considered a fumble, which means it is open game for the enemy. People who do not understand the truth of what the Christian walk is about become open game for the enemy to come after them. The devil will cast doubt upon the faithfulness of God and His promises. He will tell them that the whole thing is a farce or convince them that they really don't belong to the team.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nAs a result, great discouragement will overcome these people. Now remember, they are not enemies of the cross; they just sat under a gospel that fast-forwarded everything too quickly. They essentially skipped the whole of the Christian walk and went right to the end. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nWe see in the Scriptures that Jesus did not give up on those disciples who were on the road to Emmaus. He went over to walk with them because He knew they really did love Him. He said, \"'O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?' And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself\"<\/span> (Luke 24:25-27). Jesus showed them that suffering is an unavoidable part of the Gospel. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n In the same way, we, too, must remember not to abandon these brothers and sisters in Christ. We must not point the finger at them, saying, \"You believed that stupidity, so now God has abandoned you!\" Rather, we must do as Jesus did-go after them and walk alongside them. When you find somebody who does not have a correct view of what this Christian walk is actually like, you can open the Scriptures and say, \"Look, my friend, you had the right Jesus-just the wrong time. Let me show you that trials and difficulties are not eradicated because of the cross; it is simply that their potential to destroy us is destroyed. Yes, we are guaranteed a victory because Christ crossed that finish line into eternity. Nevertheless, we must not forget that there is still a walk to be walked and a battle to be fought on this earth!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n THE COMING DAYS<\/span>
\r\nThere is no doubt that the days ahead are going to be increasingly difficult, collectively as well as personally. As we look around at our nation, we already see the family breaking down at an alarming pace-trouble and trial arising on every border. And so it is time to bear in mind Jesus' words from our opening Scripture: \"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world\" <\/span>(John 16:33). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nNever forget, there is already a celebration going on in the end zone! Of course, it may take you and me a little while to get there, but until then, don't be discouraged, and don't let your teammates get discouraged. We are still on the winning team; all of us are still going to cross the finish line. We are going to defeat the powers of hell, and we are going to take a multitude of souls with us in the days ahead! And when we finally get to the end zone, we are all going to join that marvelous celebration. There will be singing and dancing, and we will all be full of unspeakable joy such as we have never known in our lifetime! Hallelujah!<\/p>\r\n "},"67":{"sm_title":"Running Through the Paper Wall","sm_id":"218","sm_desc":"March 29, 2015 - God has called us to run the race of faith. Whatever the devil sets before us is only a paper wall. What has the devil written on your wall? If you don't run through the wall you will remain in the wilderness. The power of God is available for you to run through the wall and fulfill the call on your life.","sm_jpg":"25599_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-06","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/03\/29s1\/20150329s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/03\/29s1\/20150329s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"wUtVwABX6vM","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25809_sermon-newsletter-201506-running-through-the-paper-wall.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls\"<\/span> (Hebrews 12:1-3, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThis passage of Scripture speaks of a great race that each of us is called to run. When you came to Christ and He became your Lord and Savior, God's Holy Spirit came to dwell inside your physical body. In other words, you became the temple of the living God. You were born again by the Spirit of God, and the old things in your life that once governed and hindered you began to pass away. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nNow you have become a new creation-with new strength, new thoughts, a new heart, and a new mind. A life of supernatural possibility has been opened to you, for God has purposed to glorify His name on the earth through you. That is why you and I are still here; that is the purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. We are to be an irrefutable, living testimony to the reality of God's incredible love that sent His Son to a cross for all humanity. Therefore, in a day when morality is failing, civility is quickly becoming a thing relegated to the past, family breakups are common, and teenagers are living in debauchery, it is imperative that you and I run with endurance this race that is set before us. Yes, we are running it together, but each of us still has our own individual part to play. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe race we are called to run will often involve a pathway that looks impossible. Indeed, it is impossible in the natural. But remember, God is not calling us to do anything in our own strength. Jesus made a way for us to run this race by triumphing over evil; He made impossibility possible through the victory He won at Calvary. And now the Lord is simply calling us to be the vessels through whom He will carry His own name to glory. All He requires of us is a willingness to believe Him.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nOf course, knowing these things does not necessarily make it easy to run this race. I often have days that are tough, and it is evident in the Scriptures that those who have gone before us have had to experience very difficult days as well. For example, consider David-a man who was appointed by God to be a king. David was only a boy when the prophet Samuel took a horn of oil and anointed him in front of all his brothers (see 1 Samuel 16:13). David knew that he was being set apart for the purposes of God, appointed to lead the people of Israel. His heart was filled with incredible promise and vision for the future. Yet right away he was sent back out to continue looking after his father's sheep. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nOne day, a lion came into the little flock of sheep that he was protecting and grabbed a lamb in its mouth. Suddenly the Holy Spirit came upon David, and he was given the power to grab the lion by its mane and kill it. How stunning that hidden victory must have been! On another occasion, a bear came up against him, and he was empowered to defeat it as well.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nDavid was later sent by his father to check on his brothers during a season when Israel was at war with the Philistines and they were being taunted daily by a giant called Goliath. While the rest of the Israelite army stood paralyzed by fear, the Holy Spirit came upon David once again. He courageously ran into the valley and won a marvelous victory over Goliath! By that point, it must have seemed as if things were only going to get better until the promise and purpose of God for his life were fulfilled. However, things soon took a turn, and David found himself being pursued like \"a partridge in the mountains\" (see 1 Samuel 26:20). That is when he penned Psalm 18. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\"The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me\"<\/span> (Psalm 18:4-5). David was essentially saying, \"In every direction I looked, all I saw was my inability to finish what I felt I was called to do. I could not see a way forward. I had no idea how God's call on my life was ever going to be accomplished.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nHow many of you know that feeling? Perhaps you started out running the race with zeal, experiencing victory after victory. You knew that God was with you, for there was no way you could have won those battles without His strength. Bondages in your life were broken and you entered into new realms of freedom. God gave you the power to be honest when nobody else was telling the truth; He enabled you to respond graciously when people were unkind to you. Soon you began to conclude, \"Wow, God really does have a supernatural call on my life!\" However, suddenly one day you found yourself being pursued by the enemy.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nDavid started off by running a race that he was convinced would bring glory to God. When he ran into the valley to face Goliath with only a sling and five stones, it was as if he was saying in his heart, \"The name of God must be honored!\" And so it is hard to fathom that David eventually began running in the opposite direction. He started in the supernatural, but he came to a point when he turned to his natural reasoning. \"David said in his heart, 'Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines'\" (1 Samuel 27:1). This, of course, was only false reasoning. The promise of God that he was going to be the next ruler of Israel still stood. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nSadly, many people in our generation are doing a similar thing. They start out running for God with an inner desire to bring glory to His name-only to eventually find themselves facing opposition that they cannot understand. You see, the grievous error that many Christians tend to make is somehow assuming that they are going to go through this life unopposed. As a result, they end up crafting an alternate plan and running an alternate race, venturing into a place other than where God called them to go. You and I cannot afford to do this in this hour. It is imperative that we recognize the significance of the moment in which we live.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n IT IS ONLY PAPER!<\/span>
\r\nTake a moment to consider the fact that after more than two thousand years of Christian history, it has come down to you and me! We have had all the teaching, all the stories, all the biographies; everything we have been through has been meant to prepare us for this very moment in history. You and I are now called to run behind all those who have gone before us to fulfill this great calling of God on each of our lives. <\/p>\r\n

I feel almost as if we are a football team, and I am your coach for this moment, giving you a pep talk in the locker room: \"We are going to go out onto the field, and we are going to be opposed. Yet, remember that we are a superior team with a superior strategy. We have been well trained, and the weapons of our warfare are not like theirs; our weapons are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. We have been given power over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt us. We are going out on the field, and we are going to be victorious! There will surely be a shout of glory at the end of this match!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nCan you picture the typical scene right before the beginning of a football game? The team comes out of the locker room, full of excitement. They walk down a long corridor with cement walls on either side, and at the end of the corridor is a paper wall. Now at the beginning of NFL and college games, the team has to break through the paper wall. They cannot even see the field until they do so. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nHow incredible it would be if an NFL team were to burst out of the locker room, run with confidence down the corridor, and then stop at the paper wall! Imagine if they were to just stand there staring at it, not believing that it could be breached. Instead, they somehow have it in their minds, \"We can't get through this.\" Oh, how foolish that would look! We would be crying from the stands, \"Go forward! Go forward! It is only paper!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIn a similar way, our opening Scripture in Hebrews tells us of a great crowd of witnesses who surround us. I can just hear these saints calling out to us-not only the ones from before Christ, but those who have come after. They have all gone through the flood and through the fire; they have known the triumph of God. Now they see the full picture of who God is and what He is able to do. I don't know if they can actually see planet Earth, but if they could, they would be up in the stands, shouting, \"Run! Don't give up. You have a great call of God on your life! Don't give in to the lies of the enemy or the threats of darkness. Don't be silent in a time when God has given you the power of speaking His words. Don't cower under the darkness of this world which is soon to pass away.\" These witnesses know that before we even begin, the victory is ours. Whatever the devil sets before us is only paper, and it cannot stop us! The only thing that can stop us is unbelief. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThink about the children of Israel who came out of bondage in Egypt. They personally witnessed the miracles that God did to release them from the hand of Pharaoh. They experienced the parting of the Red Sea and they were sovereignly led by God's cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. Yet they suddenly stopped at the very border of the Promised Land-hindered by what was only a paper wall! Filled with fear and unbelief, they concluded, \"We are not able to go in! There are giants in the land who are so much stronger than us; we are grasshoppers in our own sight and in theirs, as well!\" (see Numbers 13:33).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIf you and I could shout to them down through history, we would say, \"Go, it's yours for the taking! The defenses have departed from the enemy. Yes, they may oppose you, but they will not overcome you!\" <\/p>\r\n

Yet the children of Israel ultimately succumbed to the lie of the enemy and refused to go in. They forfeited the race and instead lived in the wilderness for the rest of their lives. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhen you do not go into the plan of God for your life, you will live in the wilderness all of your days. Heaven may be your home at the end of your journey, but you will not know the miraculous power of God. You will never know the satisfaction of walking with Him through places that only He could carry you. You will go from church to church; you will blame the preachers and the people. But the reality is that you simply would not go through your own paper wall. You refused to walk in the place of the miraculous that God had set before you.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nAnd so the question that God put on my heart for you today is: What has the devil written on your paper wall?<\/p>\r\n

\r\n \r\n\"You are not strong enough. You are not smart enough. You are a loser. You have always been a loser, and you will never be anything other than what your father or your mother was.\" On some people's walls, the enemy just draws bricks and makes it look impenetrable. Nevertheless, it is still only paper.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nYou and I must lay hold of the fact that there is nothing the devil can put before us that can stop us from being what God has called us to be. The only thing he can do is write these things on our wall and try to get us to agree with him. All the while, there is a shout coming from the upper tiers of heaven's stadium-from those who have faced the same taunts of the enemy throughout history but have found them to be false and powerless. They are telling you and me, \"Go through that paper wall. Go through whatever you have to go through. Don't stop at this place of unbelief. No matter what the devil writes on your wall, he is a liar!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nI say that we have been in the locker room long enough. It is time for all of us to put on the armor of God, head down that corridor, and breach that paper wall. The devil may write whatever he wants, but he is not keeping us out of this end-time game. Not only are we going in, but we are going to fight, and we are going in to win! We are going in, believing every word God has spoken to us and empowered to do everything He has trained us to do.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhatever the devil is insisting is stronger than the power of the Holy Spirit within you; whatever he has written on your paper wall that has kept you from wholeheartedly entering this battle for the souls of men-I encourage you to run right through it today! Don't let these things hinder you any longer. Don't let all your training end up being in vain. Make the choice to believe God. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nEven if your own heart condemns you, remember the Bible tells us that God is greater than our hearts. He is going to give us the strength we need to be a part of this end-time battle for the souls of men. You and I are going in, knowing even before we start the battle that our victory is certain. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWe are more than conquerors through Christ, and we will see Him glorified once again in our generation!<\/p>"},"68":{"sm_title":"The Year That King Uzziah Died","sm_id":"228","sm_desc":"January 4, 2015 - How does God respond to a nation that thinks they can live ungodly lives without consequences? God responds with a final act of mercy. He will draw those who desire to know Him and give us a revelation of His power, majesty and glory. We will have a soberness in the hour we are living and the hope that is set before us in Christ.","sm_jpg":"25200_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-05","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/01\/04s1\/20150104s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/01\/04s1\/20150104s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"jmch8e-pCZo","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25721_sermon-newsletter-201505-the-year-that-king-uzziah-died.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!' And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke\"<\/span> (Isaiah 6:1-4, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhat an incredible encounter Isaiah had with the Lord! And notice that it took place in the year that King Uzziah died. In order to understand the significance of the timing, it is important to know a little bit about Uzziah's life.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe book of Second Chronicles tells us that Uzziah was sixteen years old when he took the throne, and he went on to reign in Jerusalem for fifty-two years. Under his leadership, the nation rose to incredible heights of political, financial and military power, for \"as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper\"<\/span> (2 Chronicles 26:5). The people flourished, giftings were bestowed, and their ability to invent and produce new weapons of war made Judah the marvel of the nations.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nYou and I can lay claim to something similar in America. We are a young nation compared to most on the face of the earth today, yet it is indisputable that people who came to this country from all over the world were made strong by the hand of God. We were marvelously helped, wonderfully gifted, and became the envy of the world in many respects.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nHowever, there is an important lesson that we must learn from Uzziah. His death was an ominous warning to the nation that greatness without godliness opens the gateway to a sorrowful and tragic finish. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nWhat exactly happened to Uzziah? The Scriptures explain it rather clearly: \"He was marvelously helped till he became strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense\"<\/span> (2 Chronicles 26:15-16, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAlthough it was an act clearly forbidden in the law, Uzziah decided to go into the temple to offer incense. This act was a type of a society and its leadership becoming its own judge of what is right and what is wrong. He had known success for so long that his heart was lifted up in pride; he had reached a place where he assumed he could do nothing wrong in God's sight. Of course, the Bible warns us that pride always goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (see Proverbs 16:18).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nEighty priests of the Lord went in after Uzziah, warning him, \"It is not for you to burn incense to the Lord!\" (see 2 Chronicles 26:17-19). In other words, \"What you are doing is not right. God has not prescribed it to be done this way. You are taking something that is wrong and calling it right; taking something evil and trying to call it good.\" Yet, as these men who represented the truth of God withstood this king of pride, he became furious with them. What a stark difference from those early years when he had sought the Lord in humility! <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nSimilarly, you and I are living in a time when a fury is mounting against those who speak for God. We are somewhere between persecution and prosecution in the house of God in this nation. Those who stand for truth, as Isaiah said, have become a prey of the ungodly-something to be vilified and cast down (see Isaiah 59:15). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWith the censer still in his hand and anger rising in his heart, the Scriptures tell us that Uzziah's forehead broke out in leprosy. It was a visible sign of the spiritually diseased condition of his mind-an outward expression of what had long ago started to ferment inside of him. He found himself shamed for the rest of his days, and he died in a leper colony. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThis goes to show that the disease of the soul first manifests in the minds of the people and then in their subsequent behaviors. For example, where did we ever get the idea in this nation that we were as God-that we could declare what is good and what is evil? Why did we assume we could transgress the Word of God, which was once our own foundation, and not pay a price for it? We suppressed the truth we once knew and, as a result, we have subjected ourselves to living in an illusion and opened ourselves to a diseased mind. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIt is just as the Apostle Paul warned in the book of Romans: \"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them...Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened...And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting\"<\/span> (Romans 1:18-21, 28). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nOnce the envy of the nations, America is now becoming the mockery of the nations. We are becoming increasingly weak and confused; we are paralyzed socially, politically, and morally. It is obvious that the hand of God is not upon us in the way it once was. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n GOD'S RESPONSE<\/span>
\r\nSo how does God respond when a nation finds itself in such a perilous condition? First of all, remember that it was \"in the year that King Uzziah died\" that Isaiah saw the Lord. In other words, it was the year when all hope seemed to be gone. It was the year when military might was failing, the economy was in tatters, and enemies were laughing. It was the year when greatness and glory seemed to be something relegated to history, leaving people afraid for their future. It was the year that God responded with a final act of mercy to that generation, and He did so by drawing someone into His presence. That is what He always has done, and that is what He always will do. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\n\"I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!' And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke\"<\/span> (Isaiah 6:1-4). Isaiah was drawn into God's presence where he was given a revelation of the majesty, power, holiness and glory of the One whose purposes were being fulfilled in the earth. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nUpon having this encounter with God, Isaiah immediately became aware of his own uncleanness as well as that of the people around him. \"So I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts'\" <\/span>(Isaiah 6:5). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThink about it-Isaiah was a religious man living in a religious nation; he even had some responsibility in the temple. Yet, until that moment, he had never fully seen the holiness of God. Suddenly, in the presence of the Lord, he understood that all of our human righteousness is as filthy rags. He understood that there is nothing we can do of our own accord-no sacrifice we make, no good thing we produce-that will ever give us the right to stand in the presence of a holy God. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nKeep in mind that the nation had been faltering because of pride under Uzziah's leadership. At this point, the only thing that could counterbalance it would be a people who were not filled with pride but rather humility, so the timing of Isaiah's encounter was strategic. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nOnce Isaiah was humbled in the presence of the Lord, the Scriptures describe an amazing transaction that took place: \"One of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged'\"<\/span> (Isaiah 6:6-7, NKJV). In other words, beyond recognizing his own uncleanness and that of the people, Isaiah now saw the willingness of God to forgive those who would turn back to Him! Isaiah did not have to plead or beg for it. Mercy came and touched him, and he became aware that it was the delight of God to forgive and cleanse. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nSimilarly, in our day those who have been humbled because they have been in the presence of the Lord begin to recognize His incredible mercy. They understand that it is in God's heart to forgive every man, woman, and child in America. He doesn't want to judge! It is His desire to gather a people to Himself once again. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAfter being touched by mercy, Isaiah began to hear the thoughts of God's own heart as He was conversing with Himself-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. \"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'\"<\/span> (Isaiah 6:8). In other words, who will go and be an ambassador of mercy to this undeserving people?<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\n\"Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.' And He said, 'Go, and tell this people: \"Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.\" Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.' Then I said, 'Lord, how long?' And He answered, 'Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump'\"<\/span> (Isaiah 6:8-13, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIsaiah was eager to be sent as an ambassador of mercy, yet God was warning him that this ministry was not going to be easy. Nevertheless, it would make an eternal difference in one out of ten people that he would speak to. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nBy drawing a parallel to a tree that is cut down but still has life remaining in its stump-eventually causing a new tree to sprout forth-God was essentially telling Isaiah, \"This society has reached a point where the majority are against My ways. Despite the fact that you have stood in My presence, they are so bent on being their own god that most will not repent. Nevertheless, for your effort, one in ten will hear what you have to say. Even though the nation goes into trial and cities are laid waste, there will be one in ten who will have My life planted within them. No matter what happens around them, they will live. They will stand and endure; they will be like a tree planted by the rivers of living water.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nOne in ten! Of course, that one in ten will still have to go through the same sorrow and trials as everyone else. However, a seed of God's life will be found within them, enabling them to live when all around them seems lost.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n WHO WILL GO?<\/span>
\r\nAnd so this is my question for you now: Is the one in ten worth it? Is it worth suffering the rejection, the scorn, the vilification, the sneers, the lies of the nine-everything that we will have to endure in this generation if we desire to stand for God? Now bear in mind that if God gives us one in ten, it means that more than 30 million people in the United States will turn back to Him! Some who are already walking with God will be strengthened, others who are backslidden will come home, and many who do not know God will find Him.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nOh, can you hear the voice of God calling out once again, \"Who will go? Who will be willing to stand, facing the fear of rejection and the pride of wanting to be loved by everyone? Who will go and tell the people of this generation about My desire to forgive in spite of their folly? Who will tell them that if they will just come and stand in My presence, I will touch them and plant within them new life and new hope?\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nPerhaps you have thought lately, \"I cannot even bring myself to speak the name Jesus in my workplace. I am such a coward!\" Or maybe all you can see are your struggles and failures, and you wonder how you could ever be a mouthpiece for the Lord. Yet the beauty of the story of Isaiah is that at the point when he says, \"Here I am, send me!\" he is still undone. He is weak, and he knows it. He knows that he has no right to boast of himself, for he has seen what he is without God. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIn the same way, when God is about to use your life in a deeper way, you will become very aware of your own failures and frailties. However, it is in that place of brokenness and humility-that place where you are completely undone and keenly aware that you do not have the right to even speak the name of Jesus-that you truly recognize God's mercy in your life. In His mercy, He has forgiven you, cleansed you, covered you and called you. And if He is willing to do that for you, He is willing to do the same for others around you. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nTherefore, this is not a time to be silent. This godlessness of our generation is not going to go away on its own. Light must counter it and you and I are the light of this world. We are the hope of this generation. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nRemember, it is in God's heart to use those of us who feel like we are undone. People who have been humbled in the sight of God tend to have a natural compassion for people in our society who are indulging in all sorts of behavior. They will not speak with arrogance, simply presenting another argument. No! They will stand humbly before people, speaking with kindness. Just as they have been touched with the tenderness of God, tenderness will emerge from their lips. These are the ones whom God will use as His ambassadors in this hour, for they will be sent with one message to declare: \"God is good, and His mercy endures forever!\"<\/p>"},"69":{"sm_title":"Speak to The Foxes","sm_id":"226","sm_desc":"January 25, 2015 - How much does it matter to you to have a clean testimony? In God's love He wants to deal with the little things in our heart which have the capacity to weaken our testimony. If you will deal with these little things, Jesus will open up a pathway to the supernatural life. ","sm_jpg":"25390_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-04","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/01\/25s1\/20150125s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2015\/01\/25s1\/20150125s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"gdrQfUBuqD0","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25610_sermon-newsletter-201504-speak-to-the-foxes.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

Most agree that the Song of Solomon is, in measure, a representation of Christ and His Bride. In this book we find an important verse that I would like us to consider today. It is a request to the Bridegroom coming from those who know Him: \"Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom\"<\/span> (Song of Solomon 2:15, NASB). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhen you consider the size of a vineyard, a fox seems fairly insignificant. Nevertheless, a little fox has the potential to eat up the grapes and diminish the beauty of a vineyard that is in bloom. In the same way, you and I may find ourselves in a fruitful season-a time when the things we have prayed and believed for are finally coming to pass. Yet we must take heed, for there are often little things in our lives that, if left untended, can greatly diminish our testimony. We see an example of this in the book of Matthew.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\n\"When <\/span>[Jesus and His disciples] had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, 'Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?' He said, 'Yes'\" <\/span>(Matthew 17:24-25, NKJV). Up until this point, almost everything had gone well in Peter's walk with Jesus. The disciples were being sent out two by two, the power of God was upon them, and miracles were abounding. It was a fruitful season, indeed! However, Jesus knew that there were small things in Peter's life that needed to be dealt with, lest his future fruitfulness be diminished. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nFirst of all, when Peter was approached by the collectors of the temple tax, he lied! Neither he nor Jesus had actually paid the temple tax, which the Scriptures go on to reveal. I am sure Peter thought he had good reason to lie. After all, this was about taxes, and you wouldn't believe the number of taxes that existed in Roman times! In addition to an income tax, there was a marriage tax, a penalty tax, a death tax. People were even taxed if they wanted to use the roads to take their produce to the market. And on top of all this, there was a tax in the temple. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nI can imagine Peter thinking to himself, \"I pay enough taxes! I am not going to pay to go into the house of God. Forget this!\" So when he was approached by those who asked if his Teacher paid the temple tax, Peter quickly responded, \"Yeah, sure He does!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nPeter then proceeded to enter the temple where \"Jesus anticipated him, saying, 'What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?' Peter said to Him, 'From strangers.' Jesus said to him, 'Then the sons are free'\"<\/span> (Matthew 17:25-26, NKJV). Here we see Jesus explaining to Peter that they were actually exempt from paying this tax. \"We are covered. Only strangers pay taxes, and we are not strangers to the house of God-we are sons of the One who owns the temple! Therefore there is no penalty for us.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThis is a type of you and me realizing that our sins are covered. David the psalmist once said, \"If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?\"<\/span> (Psalm 130:3). In other words, if there were a mark against us every time we did something wrong, thought something wrong, or looked at something wrong, none of us would have any hope! Yet, because we came to Christ, we have been forgiven. All our failings and shortcomings were fully covered by the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nDespite the fact that they were covered, Peter's lie about paying the tax was like a little fox on a vine. You see, when we as Christians do things that are wrong according to the Word of God-even the most seemingly insignificant things-our testimony becomes tainted in the eyes of those who are watching us. I can imagine the people in the temple saying, \"That guy hangs out with Jesus, and he just lied.\" Therefore, you and I must be mindful of the little things that reside in our hearts. Sure, we can point to all the spiritual exercises that we are involved in and all the warfare conferences we have attended, but if there is a small compromise somewhere along the way, it taints the whole thing.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nA little unrighteous anger, a little cheating, a little theft! \"It's not much-just a few pens and post-it notes and envelopes from the workplace. What's the big deal? They don't pay me enough anyway.\" Just a little gossip! \"I don't tell everything about everyone, I just tell some little things about a few.\" Just a little peek in forbidden places! \"It's only for a moment. I mean, God knows my heart. He knows I am not really like that.\" A little sip of alcohol! \"Just enough to calm my nerves. After all, Jesus changed the water into wine, didn't He?\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nHowever, do not forget that even just a little bit of alcohol can alter your mind and your speech. Having been a police officer for years, I have seen the broken furniture, the beat-up bodies, the abused kids. I have personally witnessed the ill effects of alcohol. Furthermore, be on guard, for whatever you do a little of now, you will do a lot of when depression or discouragement comes. You will instinctively reach for what has been offering you comfort all along. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n LEST WE OFFEND<\/span>
\r\n\"Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and for you\"<\/span> (Matthew 17:27, NKJV). Although Jesus had just explained that they were actually exempt from the temple tax, He tells Peter, \"lest we offend them.\" In other words, lest our testimony be diminished in their eyes; lest they should be able to point to us on the street and say, \"Thieves! They don't pay the temple tax!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe Apostle Paul said it this way: \"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify\"<\/span> (1 Corinthians 10:23, NKJV). Yes, there are things that may be permissible in our Christian walk, but we must still consider the potential impact on those around us. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nLet me give you an example of this. The man who led me to the Lord began by coming to my door week after week, sharing the Gospel and telling me about how he used to be a drunk, a womanizer, and a gambler. Although I outwardly resisted his words, I could not deny that this man stood before me as a life completely transformed by the grace of God. It was something I had to reckon with. I even offered him a beer one time in order to test him. You see, if he had taken it, or if I had gone to his house and seen him with a glass of alcohol at his table, I might not be a Christian today. I would have assumed that he was a man just like me who had simply added religion to his life. Sure, he could have argued, \"But it's just a little thing!\" However, in my opinion, things were black or white. If he were truly a new creation, as he explained Christians were, old things should have passed away. There was no middle ground as far as I was concerned.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAnd so to this day, I recognize the significance of Jesus' words when He said, \"Lest we offend them.\" God forbid that anybody should ever see something in my life that would cause them to conclude that Christ is not real. Even though it may seem to be only a little thing, it matters. Now please don't misunderstand me-I am not suggesting that if you have a glass of alcohol, you are going to go to hell. Remember that Jesus told Peter, \"We are covered.\" For us, it is not about heaven and hell anymore. We are still covered, still loved, still going to stand before God's throne and know how deeply we are loved. The issue now is about being a testimony of Christ and recognizing those things that can cause our testimony to be diminished. Therefore, you and I have to consider: Is it really worth it? How concerned are we that Christ be glorified through our lives? How much do we care that what we speak is truth, what we see is truth, and how we live is truth? How much does it matter that we be a lighthouse to this generation?<\/p>\r\n

\r\nNow that we understand why Jesus wanted to make sure that they paid the temple tax, the next question is, Why didn't Jesus simply reach into His pocket and give Peter the coin? Why did He give him the elaborate instructions of going down to the sea, casting in a hook, and finding money in the mouth of the first fish that he pulled up? After all, if Jesus didn't have the money in His pocket, He surely could have manufactured it there as much as He could in the mouth of a fish! What was the point of all that?<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nHere is what Jesus was teaching Peter, which is the same lesson He is trying to teach us today: \"If you will deal with the little things now, I will open to you the way of supernatural faith and provision. I will open to you something that will bring honor to the name of God.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nImagine Peter going down to the seashore and explaining to people that God had instructed him to catch a fish because it had money in its mouth to pay the temple tax. The other fishermen would conclude, \"This guy has lost it! He has been hanging around with this Teacher too much!\" Yet when Peter returned an hour later with the coin in his hand, he would be able to testify, \"It was just as the Lord told me! I caught a fish, opened its mouth, and there was money in it-enough for me and Jesus to pay the tax.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThis is a picture of how when you and I make the choice to do right, we will find the supernatural provision that we need-provision to be honest, provision of joy, provision of comfort that we might have been trying to obtain elsewhere. And it all starts when we simply allow Jesus to go into the corners of the temple (that temple being you and me) and say to us, \"I want to talk to you about something.\" When Jesus was talking to Peter in the temple, Peter easily could have walked away and said, \"Okay, I'm free, so I am not going to pay the temple tax.\" Yet, thank God he didn't, for Jesus was teaching him something about the supernatural. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAnd so I urge you to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about the little plans, little dreams, little visions-all the little things that have the potential to take away your strength. Remember, the Lord does not do it to condemn you but rather to draw you into the supernatural. As you allow the Lord to deal with these little foxes, suddenly you will be given faith, vision for the future, and an ability to trust God. You will find yourself with spiritual authority over darkness, and power in your voice to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. And when others look at you and see this supernatural provision in your life, they will be provoked to ask you where it came from.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nFor example, think about when the hundred and twenty disciples burst out of the Upper Room (see Acts 2). They had been willing to do things God's way-living in one accord with a singleness of heart and purpose. As a result, God's supernatural provision-that coin that Peter found in the mouth of the fish-was in them now, and they stood boldly in the marketplace, filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result, three thousand people who had a belly full of religion looked at them and essentially said, \"Our religion doesn't give us that! Where did you get that?\" It had been miraculously given to them of God-a supply only available to those who are willing to allow their lives to be a testimony for Christ.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n IT IS TIME TO SPEAK<\/span>
\r\nThe Lord foresaw that Peter would need great courage not only on that Day of Pentecost but for all of the other subsequent difficulties he would encounter. Historians tell us that Peter was eventually crucified upside down. And so we see why Jesus took the time to deal with the little foxes in Peter's life back when the issue of the temple tax came up. Similarly, you and I are facing an onslaught of evil, and we are going to need God's supply for the days ahead. Therefore, we must be determined to deal with the little things now-polish the windows, check the hinges. God wants to give us power, but these little things can make a huge difference in the long run.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nOnce you are determined to set things in order in your life, don't be surprised if the enemy comes and tells you that you are not going to make it. Even Jesus had to face these lies, but He knew it was only a fox trying to destroy the fruit of the vineyard that God had given Him. The Scriptures tell us of a time when the Pharisees came to Jesus and said to Him, \"'Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.' Jesus said 'Go, tell that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected'\" <\/span>(Luke 13:31-32, NKJV). \"Perfected\" means that He will reach His goal. The devil will no doubt attempt to get you off course, saying, \"This pathway is too hard for you. Take an easier way. You don't have to do things God's way!\" Yet notice Jesus' response, \"No! I cast out demons and healing is flowing. And on the third day, I am going to attain my goal by the power of God!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nYou, too, have the power to speak to the foxes in your life today. \"I will entertain you in my life no longer! By the grace of God, I will be rid of you. I have been given power to confront evil and healing is flowing through my life. I am not bringing something to my workplace that calls itself Christianity but stinks as I pass by. No, I am bringing that sweet presence of God with me everywhere I go! I am going to finish my journey, and I am going to reach the full potential of what my life is called to be! No little fox is going to drive me from the plan of God for my life!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nSpeak to the foxes and then simply trust the Lord for His grace and provision. As you do so, you will find that He will supply you with things you don't naturally possess-courage, power, and everything else you need to take you through the days ahead with victory and an undiminished testimony of Christ!<\/p>"},"70":{"sm_title":"Cry Out For The Children","sm_id":"224","sm_desc":"December 7, 2014 - It's a tragedy in every generation when we take the truth of God and begin to live for ourselves. The end result is that we lose the burden of God for the lost. The Kingdom of God is made up of mercy and miracles. God is calling His church to arise and cry out to Him for the children and the lost who are left wounded and dying in the streets. It's time to pray like never before.","sm_jpg":"25127_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-03","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/12\/07s1\/20141207s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/sermon3a.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/mp3g\/20141207s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"0j94ZaDeHOE","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25524_sermon-newsletter-20150-cry-out-for-the-children.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street\"<\/span> (Lamentations 2:19).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe prophet Jeremiah was no doubt writing these words with a broken heart. He had witnessed with his own eyes all the young people in the streets who had been deprived of true hope for the future. Jeremiah was aware that godlessness had infiltrated the very fabric of his society. The people of God had lost sight of their spiritual inheritance, choosing instead to live for themselves in the moment. They had allowed the glorious future once promised them to slip through their fingers! How heartbreaking it must have been for this prophet, for he understood the desire and the promises of God. Jeremiah knew the Lord's purpose for these people who were supposed to be His testimony in the earth at that time.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nRecently in my office late one evening, I glanced out my window that overlooks Times Square and could not help but wonder how closely our society resembles that which broke Jeremiah's heart. I saw hundreds of young people, the majority of whom have been spiritually starved in our schools. They have been raised to believe that there is no God, surrounded by a society that attempts to eradicate everything that has to do with the testimony of Christ.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nSadly, this is all happening because the people of God took His Word and dealt very casually with it. We allowed sin to prosper in our midst, which consequently brought a weakness upon the Church. Ultimately, we turned inward and began living for ourselves. Coming to the house of God became all about how to get a better career; how to develop a nicer personality; how to advance in society-all the while neglecting the fact that another generation was coming after us. In other words, we began to lose the burden of the Lord.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAnd now we find ourselves at risk of becoming like Hezekiah. Hezekiah was a king who had once known the presence and power of God. Yet when he received a word from the Lord that a day was soon coming when all that he had, including his sons, would be taken from him and carried away to Babylon, he responded, \"Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?\" <\/span>(2 Kings 20:19). Hezekiah was essentially saying, \"As long as none of this happens in my time, it is good.\" Oh, God help us that such a sentiment never gets into our heart! How tragic it would be if all we are trying to do is ride out the coming storm, completely unconcerned about those who are going to come after us.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAs I looked out my office window that evening, I could see the hollowness in these young people-a vacancy, a desperate quest for something to satisfy the emptiness inside. They have been left to wander the streets, searching for scraps of reality and meaning to guide them into the future. Many are venting their anger through protests, attempting to grasp an elusive and just society that they will never find apart from Jesus Christ. The irony of it all is that if we had not denied our children the truth, they would be on their knees in the streets. They would know where the true power of God really is.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe Bible tells us of another time when the people of God were being afflicted and their children were seemingly in the grip of the enemy. \"The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives...and he said, 'When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live'\"<\/span> (Exodus 1:15-16, NKJV). Eventually, Pharaoh went on to charge all his people: \"Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive\"<\/span> (Exodus 1:22). The Israelite children were being cast into the river-a physical picture of what is happening in our generation as young people are being cast into a river of confusion.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAll appeared hopeless, as if the enemy had completely taken hold of the next generation. However, the time finally came when one of God's people rose up. \"And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank\"<\/span> (Exodus 2:1-3, NKJV). This young woman defied everything that was coming against her and her house, and she cast her child upon the mercy of God. You see, once in a while throughout history, someone rises up and declares, \"No, devil, you are not getting my children! Not on my watch, for I know the living God!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAs this woman placed her child in a basket in the river, there was no way she could have known the fullness of the impact that her choice would make upon her nation. She did not understand that this child, Moses, would eventually deliver all his people out of bondage!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIt is important for us to remember that when the day came for Moses to stand before Pharaoh's throne, he did not stand there in strength. Rather, he stood there in weakness in his old age. He was not carrying a sword nor was he clad in any armor; yet he had all that he needed-a staff in his hand and confidence in his God. As he faced the mightiest emperor of that time, Moses simply said, \"I make no deals with you. We are all going-our young are going, our old are going, our children are going, our goats are going! Everything that belongs to the children of God is coming with us, and not one will be left behind! Not on my watch!\" (See Exodus 10:9).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nLikewise, that same righteous indignation must arise in each of our hearts in this hour. As lawlessness abounds and our nation is being devoured by godlessness at an alarming rate, we simply do not have time for another superstar preacher to rise up. I thank God for those mighty men and women of God who have gone before us, but now it is time for the weak and the foolish, the nobodies and the nothings, to press in to the throne of God!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nMy heart sings with the thought that throughout scriptural history, when God wanted to do something profound, He often looked for the person who was the least able to make it happen. When He wanted to bring a prophet to the nation, He looked for a barren womb in a woman named Hannah. When He wanted to deliver His people from the hand of the Midianites, He appeared to Gideon-the least of his father's house, of the weakest clan in the tribe of Manasseh. When God wanted to give an incredible promise to a man named Abraham, telling him that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and that the whole world would be blessed through him, He waited until Abraham had no possible way of doing it in his own strength.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIf only you and I could fully understand that we serve a God who is not looking for the most qualified or those who have it all together. He is looking for people with hearts of faith-those who still believe that they can come to the throne of God, not with their own strategies but with a heart that simply believes, \"God, I know You are good, and I know that Your mercy endures forever!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nRemember that after Solomon prayed at the completion of the temple, the Lord appeared to Him at night and said, \"I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually\" <\/span>(2 Chronicles 7:12-16, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhen I read this passage of Scripture, I see something of the character of God: His willingness to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. You see, the kingdom of God is defined by miracles and mercy. It is about dead people living; the powerless obtaining the power of God. It is about a new song that God puts in the heart of His people, and many see it and fear and begin to trust in the Lord. The kingdom of God is about men and women becoming all that God destined us to be-laying hold of things that are not within our natural grasp, understanding truths which our natural minds do not know, and living in freedom which any amount of natural effort cannot bring us into. The kingdom of God is about miracles and mercy!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe Lord is waiting for ordinary people like you and me to say, \"God, I have discovered something about Your heart. I know that You are a God who performs miracles, and I also know that You are merciful. Therefore, I am coming on behalf of the children of this generation. I am petitioning for those who have been robbed, those who have been left blind and wounded in our streets, those who are fainting and dying for hunger because we have denied them access to the living God. Yet You are merciful to us in our failure, and You will be merciful to this generation!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n IT'S TIME TO PRAY<\/span>
\r\n\r\nConsider once again the words of our opening Scripture: \"Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street\"<\/span> (Lamentations 2:19, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nJeremiah was appealing to whatever true spirituality remained among the people of God in his day, and the same word applies to you and me in this hour. It is time for us to cry out for our children! There is much more at stake here than you may realize-the future of this next generation depends on it. Remember that Mordecai said to Esther, \"Don't assume that you will be safe just because you stay home and try to protect yourself\" (see Esther 4:13).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWe have a prayer meeting at Times Square Church every Tuesday night, and I believe that it is more important to the future of our city, perhaps even to this country, than I can express to you. The prayer meeting is live-streamed, and people are participating from more than 140 nations. God has been answering prayers in profound ways. Praise reports are flooding in of people being healed, the addicted being set free, families being restored, children who have been alienated from their parents for years returning home. It is evident that the Kingdom of God is still about miracles and mercy-and so it is clearly time for you and me to pray!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nYou may find it encouraging to know that prayer has not always been the strongest part of my Christian life. Nevertheless, by God's grace I am going to pray, for it simply isn't right that the godless have had reign over our children. It isn't right that our schools, which are supposed to be places of intellectual discussion, have in many cases become places of indoctrination and mockery. I am not willing to sit idly by and let this generation die in its sin when we are still living in a season of mercy and miracles. By God's grace, I will not let them go without a fight, and neither should you! I believe we have the power to push back the darkness that is attempting to plunge our cities into chaos. I believe we have the power to position our children for a season of incredible mercy. In fact, the Lord has given us a magnificent promise in the Scriptures: \"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse\"<\/span> (Malachi 4:5-6, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nI have always been encouraged by these last verses of the Old Testament. Many who study this passage believe that it has a dual application-referring not only to the first coming of Christ but also to the period of time just prior to His Second Coming. During that time, God will raise up a cry. He will raise it up from grandmothers, mothers, fathers, pastors-ordinary people who simply have a heart for God. It is that cry that will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. God will turn back the hearts of those who are spiritual fathers and mothers, but first you and I must be people of prayer.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nRemember, we do not need to have a plan when we pray, for Jesus and the victory He won at Calvary is our plan; the power and mercy of God is our plan! When we pray, we are appealing to the faithfulness of God and the words He spoke through the apostle Paul: \"I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day\"<\/span> (2 Timothy 1:12, NKJV). In other words, we can be assured that the Lord is able to keep everything that we put into His hands. Therefore, we can believe for our children, our siblings, our parents and grandchildren-we can believe that not one will be left behind, just as Moses declared to Pharaoh!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nI believe that we are on the edge of something incredible in this nation. However, it has the potential to be incredible in either one way or another-incredibly dark or incredibly glorious. Thus we find ourselves in a critical moment when we must make the choice to rise up and pray, asking God to forgive us for what we have done-for casually handling the great truth of His Word; for the lack of prayer in His house. It is time to ask Him for the grace to look away from ourselves and to believe for this next generation. May the Lord give us a baptism of faith that is deeper and more profound than we have ever known in our lifetime. As we cry out for the children and pour out our hearts like water before the Lord, may we once again witness God's miracles and mercy in our day!<\/p>"},"71":{"sm_title":"If Only David Had Called For His Chariot","sm_id":"222","sm_desc":"November 23, 2014 - Have you left your first love? The greatest enemy we will face is the enemy within. We cannot indulge in our own lust and experience the blessings of God. The devil will show you the pleasure of sin but he will blind you to the devastating consequences. Return to your first love and you will be brought into the victory of the Cross.","sm_jpg":"25101_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-02","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/11\/23s1\/20141123s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/sermon3a.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/mp3g\/20141123s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"dmv5oAHuyr8","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25400_sermon-newsletter-201502-if-only-david-had-called-for-his-chariot.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love'\"<\/span> (Revelation 2:1-4, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhile people who have been in the kingdom of God for only a short time have a tendency to draw back into sinful practices, those who have walked with God for a long time often have the potential to draw back into something much more insidious. That is what happened to the church at Ephesus. They were a church with a zeal for truth; they had done good works in the name of Jesus. Yet, despite their history of incredible victory, there was a dissipation happening in the hearts of the people-they were moving out of the place of loving Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. And so this church at Ephesus faced a moment that would potentially determine their future.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nUntil the warning came, they were unaware of their condition. Drifting from God does not start on Monday and culminate on Wednesday. It is often gradual and thus hardly discernible, occurring over a season of months or even years. Now in order for you and me to fully understand what was happening in the church at Ephesus, let's go back and consider the testimony of one of Israel's greatest kings-King David.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nJust like the church at Ephesus, David loved God with all his heart in those first years. He took care of the little things he was given to do, and he did them unto the Lord with all his heart. When a lion came to take one of his father's sheep out of the flock, David caught it by its beard and delivered the lamb from its mouth (see 1 Samuel 17:34-35). He could have easily concluded, \"Well, it's only a lamb, let the lion take it,\" but that was not what was in his heart. He knew that God had entrusted something to him, and therefore he was willing to risk his life in order that all he was given to do would be fulfilled.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nDavid had a burning inward concern for the testimony and honor of God. When he walked into the Israelite camp and saw a giant called Goliath defying the name of God while His people simply stood there in fear, David said to King Saul, \"'Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.' Moreover David said, 'The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.' And Saul said to David, 'Go, and the Lord be with you!'\"<\/span> (1 Samuel 17:36-37, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAll David initially had for weaponry was a donkey, cheese, bread, raisins and greetings for his brothers. But later he went down to a stream and gathered five smooth stones fashioned by the hand of God, and he ultimately won a marvelous victory for Israel. David was willing to press through all the unbelief around him in order to fight for the honor of God's name.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAfter the spectacular victory against Goliath, David had to learn yet another lesson of leadership-pressing through the envy of others. \"So the women sang as they danced, 'Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.' Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, 'They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?' So Saul eyed David from that day forward\"<\/span> (1 Samuel 18:7-9, NKJV). Envy, lies, rumors-these all come with the cup of leadership, which David discovered. We, too, will have to face things that will challenge the very core of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ. Yet, ultimately, we are called to represent the One who went to a cross and gave Himself for all mankind, saying, \"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do\"<\/span> (Luke 23:34, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nAfter all these victories, David eventually came to the point where he encountered the greatest enemy he would ever have to fight-himself! More specifically, his own fallen nature. You and I also have this fallen nature within that we must battle. In spite of what the Lord tells us to do, there is something inside of us that attempts to craft another way. And so we take something that is deficient, though it may not necessarily be evil in its inception, and we call it good. Ultimately, we head in a direction that begins to deplete the passion for God from our hearts-our ability to believe God and press through unbelief; our desire to persevere despite the personal cost. That is what happened to David.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\n\"It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold\"<\/span> (2 Samuel 11:1-2, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIt was a time for battle, yet David tarried. Historians tell us that he was somewhere between 53 and 59 years of age at this time. Perhaps by this point in his life David was simply tired-tired of praying, tired of seeking God, tired of putting his life on the line. Or maybe he was bored with victory; maybe success had been too much a part of his life. After all, he had reached the pinnacle. The Bible tells us that when David conquered Jerusalem, the fear of him went throughout all the nations of the earth. There wasn't a nation at that time that didn't know about this man that God was with. Up until this point, everything that God had promised was still his.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nNow, in this place of success, we find David lying down in the middle of the day. He gets up in the evening when he should have been going to bed, and he walks over to the edge of the rooftop of his palace. What was he looking at over the edge of his roof? Were there not lambs in the city waiting for deliverance? Were there not soldiers on the front lines who once again needed him to bring greetings and encouragement? Surely there were some in that city who were crying out for help. There must have been children without fathers; weak ones whom the devil was trying to devour.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhat happened to David that he could no longer see God had still entrusted lambs to his care? What happened to that young man who walked into the ranks of the armies of Israel, jealous for the honor of God?<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIt is important to realize that the devil loves to paint a picture for everyone-a beautiful, idyllic picture. \"Oh, if you can just get that villa in Nassau and spend your winters there, how peaceful life will be! You can swing in a hammock under the palm trees, listening to sermons online.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe devil paints these nice pictures in order to take us right out of the battle, and I am certain that he painted an enticing picture for David. \"Oh David, you have worked hard. David, you have fought a long battle. David, just enjoy yourself! Satisfy yourself! How wonderful it will be to spend just an evening or two with this woman that you see from your rooftop!\" With seeds planted, eventually the lust of David's heart begins to take over his thinking. He starts seeking after what will gratify him and therefore ends up taking something deficient and calling it good.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIn that critical moment, David looked at the picture before him and made a wrong choice. Now you and I would be wise to learn from his mistake, remembering that the devil never paints the whole picture! In this case, he left out the four dead sons that would result from the wrong decision David made with Bathsheba; the cries of lament that would come: \"O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee\" <\/span>(2 Samuel 18:33). Out of that relationship also came a son called Solomon who took his father's lust and multiplied it by ten. He built heathen temples and died a disillusioned old man. Solomon had a son named Rehoboam who forsook the counsel of those who knew the presence of God and was responsible for splitting the kingdom of Israel into two, paving the way for its captivity.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nOh no, the devil doesn't paint the whole picture! He leaves out the dead kids, the broken homes, the divided kingdom. He leaves out the anguish, the sorrow, the heartache-all of these things that came into David's life. Beware when you start to be led by the desires of your own heart and no longer by the Word of God. Beware when the thought comes, \"Take ease. You've worked hard enough. You've fought long enough!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n A PIVOTAL POINT<\/span>
\r\n\r\nThe devil was not the only one who had painted a picture for David. The Lord had once given David an incredible promise. \"And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever\" <\/span>(2 Samuel 7:16). In other words, \"David, walk with Me, and I will bless you and your house; your heritage and your future! There will never fail to be somebody from your house sitting on the throne of Israel.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nYes, God promises to bless us, but His blessing is not unconditional. We cannot walk away from Him and still expect to see the blessings He promised us when we were walking with Him. There are always consequences to the choices that we make. And we all come to those pivotal points in life that have the potential to greatly impact the course of our future, just as David did.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nI cannot help but think-if only David had made a different choice at that pivotal moment. Instead of saying, \"Bring me that woman!\" if only he had said, \"Bring me my chariot! There are still lions devouring out there. There are still soldiers who need encouragement!\" Or perhaps even better than that, he should have said, \"Bring me my mule, and load it with cakes and raisins and cheese. I am going to go and see my brothers. I am going to go see Uriah. I am going to find out how they are doing in the battle, and I am going to encourage them. I may be too old to lift up a sword now, but I can still go there in the midst of them and encourage them!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nSadly, David did make a wrong choice when he was up on that rooftop, never believing that he would become a murderer and a liar, leading people into defeat. Yet even then, David discovered that God was still merciful. David returned to His first love because ultimately, as the Scriptures describe, he was a man after God's own heart. Psalm 51 gives us a glimpse of his heart of repentance: \"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest...Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit\" <\/span>(Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhat a reminder for us that even if somewhere along the way we have made a wrong choice, we can still take heart. The Lord continued in His address to the church at Ephesus: \"Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works,\" <\/span>(Revelation 2:5). In other words, come back and do the first works-those little things God gave you to do that you considered precious, and therefore you did them with all your heart. You pressed through the scorn of others, the unbelief, the discouragement, and you began to learn that God takes the foolish to confound the wise, the weak to confound the strong.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nJesus went on to say, \"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God\"<\/span> (Revelation 2:7). The tree of life for you and me in the New Testament is the cross of Jesus Christ. The Lord is essentially saying to those who will heed His warning to repent and do the first works, \"I will give to you to partake of the full victory that was won at Calvary-the strength, the vision, the power, the joy-that which the world does not have and can never offer.\" You will not find these things in relationships or by relocating to some other place. You will not find it by joining some other ministry or finding some other new thing. You must learn to get the victory right where you are. That is what first love is all about, and with it are all the blessings that come only from the hand of God.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nRemember, you have been invited into something so much bigger than yourself. God is calling you to lay hold of this new kingdom that He has invited you into, so whatever He places in your hand to do, I encourage you to do it with all your heart. Press through the unbelief, even if people or your own heart may tell you that nothing is ever going to happen through your life. And then when the day comes that you find yourself on the rooftop, ask God to deliver you from the enemy within-from all of the thoughts that you have fought enough. Ask the Lord for the grace to look out and see all the children who still need deliverance, the people who still need encouragement, the battles that still need to be won for the honor and the glory of Jesus' name-and then call for your chariot!<\/p>"},"72":{"sm_title":"Bend, Bow or Burn","sm_id":"220","sm_desc":"November 2, 2014 - The world and all the powers of darkness continually rage against the testimony of Jesus Christ. If we are praying for an awakening be prepared to face opposition. As Christians, we are to take courage and refuse to bow down to the powers of darkness. Be fearless in the face of opposition, don't stop praying and prepare to take a journey that will bring glory to God.","sm_jpg":"25059_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2015-01","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/11\/02s1\/20141102s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/sermon3a.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/mp3g\/20141102s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"DJ-yWZ8eFsY","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25220_sermon-newsletter-201501-bend-bow-or-burn.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us'\" <\/span>(Psalm 2:1-3, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\"Why do the nations rage?\" the psalmist asked. There is something in the hearts of fallen men in every generation, an internal rage that declares, \"We will not live under the governorship of God. No, we will cast away these cords that have restrained us and instead do what we want to do. We will be our own god; we will decide what is good and what is evil. And we will even create our own utopia at the end of it all!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n Throughout history, fallen humanity has tried to cast out of its consciousness the knowledge, testimony and presence of God, which typically leads them to resort to threats and intimidation. Consider the following account in the book of Acts: \"[The rulers and elders of Israel] conferred among themselves, saying 'What shall we do to [the disciples]? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.' So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.' So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done\" <\/span>(Acts 4:15-21, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nThese threats that the disciples received were nothing new. I like to call them \"pre-awakening threats of darkness.\" Whenever God is about to do something profound, His people will inevitably face opposition. The apostle Peter said it this way: \"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy\" <\/span>(1 Peter 4:12-13). Peter was saying to the people of that time, \"Do not think it is strange when we have to fight opposition as we purpose to reclaim godliness in our nation.\" In the same way, if you and I are praying for an awakening in our cities and in our country, we must be prepared for the fact that darkness simply will not retreat without a fight. In order to get an idea of the kind of opposition we can expect to encounter, let's take a look at other examples in the Bible, for there has been a noticeable pattern throughout history. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nThe book of Exodus tells us of the time when the Israelites were close to being delivered from the hand of the Egyptians. They were about to experience an awakening of sorts, which was preceded by opposition from the enemy. \"Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, 'Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.' Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities\"<\/span> (Exodus 1:8-11, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nIn other words, \"We will tell you what you can build, and you must build it according to our specifications. You can go to your house of worship, but you must worship our way. You will bend your knee to our will, and if you refuse, it is going to cost you!\" This is very similar to the opposition that you and I currently face and will see in greater measure in the coming days. The freedoms we have known are now in jeopardy; laws are soon going to change for the worse. It may be only the voice of the minority as of now, yet their threats still have the potential to prevent the Church of Jesus Christ from realizing the power that she actually has. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nAnother example of these pre-awakening threats of darkness can be found in the book of Daniel. Most theologians believe that Daniel was strongly influential in the eventual issuing of a decree that allowed the people of God to return home to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. However, before that awakening came, Daniel and his Hebrew friends faced incredible threats during their captivity in Babylon. The Bible tells us that King Nebuchadnezzar had a huge statue of gold set up, and a herald cried out: \"To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace\"<\/span> (Daniel 3:4-6, NKJV). In other words, \"You are going to become one with us. You are going to embrace our new social direction, or you are going to burn. We have an image of humankind that we have set up, and now we are commanding everyone, everywhere to bow before it when they hear the music! If you don't, you are going to burn!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nHowever, Daniel's three friends-Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego-refused to bow. Although they knew their fate would be the fiery furnace, they declared to King Nebuchadnezzar: \"We have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up\"<\/span> (Daniel 3:16-18, NKJV). As a result, the three of them were bound and cast into the furnace, yet God delivered them without a single hair on their head being singed. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n Of course, darkness did not retreat. Later, under Darius, king of the Medo-Persians who eventually took over Babylon, a new decree was issued. \"All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions\"<\/span> (Daniel 6:7, NKJV). In other words, \"We will tell you when and where you can pray; we will tell you how and to whom you can pray. If you don't listen to us, you are going to be cast into a den of lions!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n REFUSING TO BOW<\/span>
\r\nUnmoved by the new decree, Daniel went home and knelt in prayer before the Lord, as was his habit. Are you and I willing to do the same today? After all, in order for spiritual freedom to remain and for the hearts of rulers to be turned back to truth, it will once again require a people who bend only to the will of God and not to the will of man. No matter what kind of statue the godless of this generation erect and try to get this society to bow down to, God's people must stand for truth!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIt is only the arrogance of humanity that says, \"We can take wrong and make it right. We can redefine the family; we can redefine marriage. We can decide when life should be born and when it should die.\" In essence, they put up their golden statue of themselves, strike up the band, and say, \"Now it is commanded to all people of all nations: Bend your knee and worship the way we do!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n Nevertheless, there comes a time in history when men and women of God must hold up the Bible again and say, \"No, sir, you cannot take evil and call it good. You cannot change the laws of God. Abortion is wrong. God ordained marriage to be between a man and a woman. It is wrong for politicians to lie. It is wrong to mock the name of Jesus.\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nThink about it for a moment: If God's people had simply bent under the weight of the threats in the past, how many divine, life-changing moments might have been lost? Peter and John could have gone home, sighing, \"Well, the authorities are threatening us and saying that we cannot preach or teach now in the name of the Jesus, so let's just have home fellowships instead. Let's all just lay low and keep to ourselves.\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nNo! Just like Daniel and his friends, the disciples refused to bow or back away. The Scriptures tell us that \"they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: 'Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David has said: \"Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.\" For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus'\"<\/span> (Acts 4:23-30, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nThe threats of darkness sent the disciples straight to prayer, and they even quoted the words of our opening psalm. Then they began to ask God for more of His presence, boldness, power, and healing-in other words, more of what got them into trouble in the first place! <\/p>\r\n

\r\n Christ will always be glorified by people who choose to pray, no matter what threats of man may surround them. Therefore, despite what the vocal minority may be attempting to dictate to us today, you and I must remember that we still have the right and responsibility to pray, and we can do so anywhere we choose! For those of you who are in school or in the workplace, you can pray walking down the corridor. You can pray on the subway or in your car; you can pray at your desk; you can pray while shopping for groceries. You can talk to God whenever you want and when people ask you what you are doing, you can reply, \"I'm talking to God! Would you like to join me?\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nHistorically it has been through these types of people-those who refuse to be intimidated by evil and instead choose to pray-that freedom from oppression comes, laws change, and even the hearts of kings are softened. Yes, Daniel did end up getting cast into a lions' den for his refusal to bow to the commands of darkness. However, look at what King Darius wrote after God delivered Daniel from the lions, completely unharmed:<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\n\"To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in the earth...I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions\"<\/span> (Daniel 6:25-27, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nHe was now giving glory to God-all because one man refused to bow!\r\n<\/p>\r\n

\r\n ASK FOR COURAGE<\/span>
\r\nAlthough the threats of darkness may intensify in the coming days, we must remember that Psalm 2 continues: \"He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure\"<\/span> (Psalm 2:4-5, NKJV). Though the nations rage and formulate their plans against God and those who are called by His name, they are merely \"plotting a vain thing\" at which the Lord laughs. His Word is the standard of righteousness and truth, and it cannot be transgressed without consequence. Derision and distress is what awaits those who turn from His ways. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nOn the other hand, those who are willing to wholeheartedly embrace God's truth are instructed to \"serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son <\/span>(that means to embrace the Son of God), lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him\"<\/span> (Psalm 2:11-12, NKJV). So how do we serve the Lord with fear rather than bowing in fear before the enemy? <\/p>\r\n

\r\n First of all, it is important to recognize that you and I do not have the courage within ourselves to remain fearless in the face of opposition. I am careful not to make any vain boasts, for Peter once did that, only to find out what was really inside of him. However, you and I can ask God for the courage we need, and, as the psalm says, \"blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\nAs you ask Him, God will give you the courage to refuse to bow to the commands of darkness-to swim upstream when everybody else is going in the other direction. Such people are the ones who will make a difference in the days ahead. They will not necessarily be the big names and big players in well-known ministries; rather, they will be ordinary people like you and me. Some will make a difference on a national scale, and others will make a difference on a community scale. But in the sight of God, one is the same as the other. We all have an opportunity to make a difference in this generation. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nNever forget that when you make the choice to stand in the midst of the fire; to be firm when everything around you is telling you to bend; to do right when society has embraced the concept of doing wrong-even if it means that you have to stand alone in your family, your community, your workplace-God promises to be with you. He promises to walk with you through the flood and through the fire; to close the mouths of lions. God promises to bring you into His presence in such a way that you will know without a doubt that you are being sustained by the hand of God.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nSo let's believe God together for a great awakening in this generation. Let's believe that He is going to fill us afresh with His Holy Spirit so that we will not bow to any threats of evil. And as the Lord enables us to stand and speak His Word with boldness, we will find that our testimony will not be of ourselves but of God and His mighty power within us! <\/p>"},"73":{"sm_title":"A New Commandment","sm_id":"217","sm_desc":"October 5, 2014 - Are we willing to love one another as Christ loves us? This kind of love looks away from our own needs and sees the needs of others. When we choose to love this way the Holy Spirit will take us beyond our strength into the strength of Jesus.","sm_jpg":"24984_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2014-12","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/10\/05s1\/20141005s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/sermon3a.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/mp3g\/20141005s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"wKZpWIA5oMc","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25123_sermon-newsletter-201412-a-new-commandment.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another\"<\/span> (John 13:33-35). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n In this passage of Scripture, Jesus was addressing His disciples not long before He went to the cross. It was an incredible scene: the One who was the embodiment of God's extravagant love for all mankind was commanding His disciples to follow Him into the depth of this love for others-particularly toward those who belong to the household of faith. Of course, this was not a commandment solely for those present with Him at the time; the Lord is issuing this same command to you and me today. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nNote that the kind of love Jesus is referring to does not simply mean having affection or an affinity for one another. No, the Lord is calling His Church to be an expression of a love so deep and so far beyond our natural human ability that it will stand as an undeniable testimony of the reality of God. Here is how the Bible defines love: \"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails\"<\/span> (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NKJV). It is something that simply cannot be produced in a people apart from the Spirit of God.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nNevertheless, upon receiving this new commandment, the apostle Peter assumed he had the inherent ability to do what Jesus was calling them to do. He asked Jesus, \"'Lord where are You going?' Jesus answered him, 'Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward'\"<\/span> (John 13:36, NKJV). <\/p>\r\n

\r\nIn other words, Jesus was saying, \"Peter, you do not have the strength now to go where I am going. You cannot be loyal; you cannot love the way that I love.\" Keep in mind that when Jesus issued this new commandment, He was at a tableful of people who were going to fail Him. Yet the love in His heart was compelling Him to go to a cross and lay down His life for fallen humanity. He was willing to endure the failings of even those who pledged their love and loyalty to Him. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nStill convinced of his own faithfulness, Peter asked Jesus, \"'Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.' Jesus answered him, 'Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say unto you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times'\"<\/span> (John 13:37-38, NKJV). Jesus was essentially saying to him, \"Oh really? Do you think you are that strong? Will you really lay your life down for Me? I tell you that before morning comes, you will deny three times that you have even known Me. You simply do not have the inward strength to lay down your life for another. But don't worry, you will later.\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\n We, too, must recognize this weakness in ourselves. I cannot love people the way Jesus commands me to, and neither can you. Only God has this kind of benevolent love that we need. It is only when the Holy Spirit comes upon us-when the victory of Christ becomes our victory and God's heart becomes our heart-that we can fulfill this new commandment.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n A BENEVOLENT LOVE<\/span>
\r\nAfter having denied Jesus three times-just as the Lord had said-Peter must have finally realized the impossibility of obeying this commandment in his own strength. It was not until the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 disciples in the Upper Room that Peter finally stepped into the place where he had been unable to follow. Suddenly he burst forth into the marketplace and began speaking boldly to a blood-thirsty crowd. He was now enabled by the Spirit of God to be given for others-even those who were resisting their own salvation. It was truly an amazing moment.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n The Bible tells us that \"they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need\"<\/span> (Acts 2:41-45).<\/p>\r\n

\r\nThe believers held all things in common! There was such a fervency, such a baptism of the love of God, that people even began to sell lands and houses and lay the money at the apostles' feet for distribution to those in need among the body of believers. Wherever God pours out His Spirit, a benevolence comes into the hearts of the people. It is a generous and compassionate love that causes them to look away from their own needs and instead see the needs of others-which is what this new commandment entails. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nI remember that when I first left my secular job in order to enter ministry fulltime, I put a certain amount of money into the bank from my retirement plan. I figured that if the whole ministry thing did not work out, at least I had a slush fund to fall back on. One day, a friend of mine who was also in ministry came into my office and said, \"Pastor, I don't know what I'm going to do. The engine in my car just blew up, and I don't have any money. I don't even know how I am going to get to church.\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nI knew that his need was legitimate, and I also knew that I had enough money in the bank to buy him a car. Yet suddenly I got very, very spiritual and said, \"Well, let's pray. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so He is well able to provide. Even David said, 'I have been young and now I'm old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread'\" (see Psalm 37:25).<\/p>\r\n

\r\nAs he sat there across the desk, I bowed my head and we began to pray-yet it was as if my mouth was full of peanut butter! I could hardly pray, for all the while this little voice behind me was saying, \"You hypocrite! If a man sees his brother in need and he shuts his bowels of compassion, how can he say the love of God dwells in him?\" I kept trying to push it out of my mind as I was praying, \"Oh, God, be kind! Provide a car! Just, just-\" until finally I ran out of gas and said, \"I have the money in the bank if you need it.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\nI ended up buying him a new car. Shortly after that, the engine in my car blew up. At that point I said, \"Well, Lord, I have obeyed You. That's all I can say.\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nSometime later, we were renovating a church that we had purchased in the country. I was up on a scaffold, helping to paint the ceiling, when suddenly somebody came in and said, \"You have a phone call. It's an emergency!\" When I got on the phone, the man on the line introduced himself as a salesman at a local car dealership. Then he said, \"A gentleman came in this morning and bought you a brand-new car. All you have to do is come in and sign for it!\" I asked him the identity of the gentleman, but he told me that he had chosen to remain anonymous. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n Now please understand that I am not telling you that if you buy a car for a friend, you are going to get a new one in return. My point is simply that as we do things God's way, refusing to hold back when we see a genuine need before us, God will be our supply and meet our needs. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nIt is important that you and I embrace this truth now, for in the not-too-distant future, there will be a great number of people in need around us. As you know, the coming days will be incredibly dark and difficult. In fact, I believe that we are going to go through some of the darkest moments in the history of mankind. Everything as we know it is going to change drastically. Fear will be in our streets. Many people will be violent and cruel for the sake of securing their own provision, just as we have witnessed many times throughout history. Yet despite all that will be happening in the society around us, you and I will be invited by the Spirit of God to live in a manner similar to the early church. There is no chance that we can represent Christ on the Earth if we simply become hoarders like everybody else who lives outside of the kingdom of God. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nTherefore, let me ask you a question today on God's behalf: Are you willing to love others the way Jesus commanded us to?<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWill you be willing to open your home to others if necessary-to give of what you have to meet the needs of others in the body of Christ? Will you be willing to be a vessel through whom God will give a drink to somebody who is thirsty? Food to somebody who is hungry? Clothing to somebody who is naked? Shelter to somebody without a home? <\/p>\r\n

\r\nNow please don't misunderstand me-I am not suggesting that you go out today and call a real estate agent, sell your house or your apartment, go to the bank to take out your savings and just throw it all to the wind. What I am saying is that God, foreseeing the days ahead of us, knows what we need to hear and consider, for this is what will earmark the true Church of Jesus Christ. Such was the case in the book of Acts: \"So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved\"<\/span> (Acts 2:46-47, NKJV). When it says, \"having favor with the people,\"<\/span> I believe it was exactly what Jesus told His disciples in our opening Scripture: \"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another\"<\/span> (John 13:35). <\/p>\r\n

\r\n Over the past few decades, many have gone to great lengths to try to prove God's presence among them. However, it is obedience to this new commandment that is the evidence! Tongues can be imitated, gifts of the Holy Spirit can be faked, prophecy can be of the flesh. All of these things can be fraudulent, but an ongoing, benevolent, self-sacrificing love for one another cannot be faked-at least not for very long. That is why if people in the world see the body of Christ living in genuine fellowship-a stark contrast to the self-centeredness and the divisions of this generation-they will have no choice but to acknowledge that this could only be done by the Spirit of God. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nKnowing that this will be the evidence of God with us, I am certain that it is the desire of every believer to love the way Christ does-to live what the Scripture says, to go the distance that Jesus was willing to go for lost humanity. And so we set out to obey His commandment to love others as He loves us... until we, like Peter, meet the limitations of our own ability to actually do so. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nAfter all, opening your heart to other people always involves a risk. Many have loved deeply, only to be betrayed. They trusted, they gave generously, they opened their heart, and ultimately they got stabbed in the back. Yes, sometimes these things happen. People may run away and deny they ever knew us; others who once leaned close and said they loved us will end up taking off in our moment of need. But will we let it stop us from being given for them?<\/p>\r\n

\r\n Jesus once said to His disciples, \"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me\"<\/span> (Matthew 16:24). There is no way you can take up your cross and escape the betrayal. There will come a point when people will spit in your face, but as a follower of Christ, you must continue to love them. <\/p>\r\n

\r\nWhen Jesus said, \"Love one another as I have loved you,\" it was not a suggestion but rather a commandment. However, we must also understand that He was actually adding another commandment to a series of commandments that nobody had been able to keep. The law and the commands of God were meant to highlight the hopelessness and futility of our trying to become godly in our own strength. Therefore, I think you will agree with me that the great need of this hour is another outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We need the love, compassion, and benevolence that marked the early Church, and it must be birthed and sustained in us by God.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nIt all starts with the willingness to say, \"God, pour out Your Spirit, and help me to love like You do. I thank You for the blessings in my life, yet I am aware that they have been given to me for a reason-so don't let me be blind to that purpose. Don't let me simply take everything and use it for my own benefit. Oh, God, open my eyes and my heart; give me the courage to care. Take me where I cannot go in my own strength. Enable me to follow You to the place where You went-where You were poured out for others!\" <\/p>\r\n

\r\nPastor David Wilkerson once told me that although the coming days are going to be very dark, there will be a sweetness of fellowship in the house of God such as we have never known. So let's open our hearts and allow the Lord to baptize us in this divine love, breaking all the bonds of selfishness. As we do so, it can become one of the most wondrous things that we will ever experience as believers in Jesus Christ. It will no longer be some program telling us to love people. Rather, it will be the divine love of God shed abroad in our hearts. Suddenly we will look out and realize that we really do care. We will see somebody in need, and we will be unwilling to bypass them without reaching out to meet their need and let them know that God loves them. We will have a love and compassion for one another that will be inexplicable apart from the presence of God amongst us. And as the Lord said, this love for one another will be a declaration to the whole world that Jesus Christ is Lord. Hallelujah!<\/p>"},"74":{"sm_title":"The Call of the Shipmaster","sm_id":"215","sm_desc":"September 14, 2014 -The shipmaster was a man who understood that his calling was to cry out on God's behalf to a people who were facing a coming judgment because of their sins. As Christians we carry in our heart the message of eternity. Don't run from the call of God, get into the prayer closet and pray like never before.","sm_jpg":"24934_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2014-11","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/09\/14s1\/20140914s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/sermon3a.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/mp3g\/20140914s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"0vpjC9cwzIk","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25081_sermon-newsletter-201411-the-call-of-the-shipmaster.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

\"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.' But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, and had lain down, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said to him, 'What prayest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish'\"<\/span> (Jonah 1:1-6, NKJV).<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIn this story we see a pattern that tends to repeat itself time and again among God's people. Jonah was a man who knew that he was called to cry out on God's behalf and warn the people of coming judgment because of their sinful behavior. In the same way, you and I are called to be a testimony of the goodness of God, as well as a voice warning of the day of divine justice soon to come. Imagine the hell that so many people will experience when they finally stand in the presence of such a pure love, only to realize that what they forsook on earth they now have to forsake for all eternity. How tragic that their last memory before being cast into eternal darkness will be the blazing, intense passion that Jesus had for them. You and I must warn people about this day!<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nJonah had this incredible calling of God on his life, and he was given all the resources he needed in order to accomplish it. Did you know that you, too, already have the power to do whatever God has called you to do? However, we all eventually come to a place where we must make a decision: Do I agree with what God is saying, or do I push away what He is speaking to my heart and gravitate instead toward what I think my life should be?<\/span><\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nJonah chose the latter. Although he had a firsthand knowledge of how merciful God was, rather than doing what he was called to do, he took a journey far away from the heart of God.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nLuke 15 tells the story of the prodigal son-a boy who took a journey similar to Jonah's. This son demanded his inheritance from his father and went far from home, choosing to lavish it entirely on himself. It was all about his journey, his blessing, his slice of the pie, his pleasure. The Scripture calls it \"riotous living,\" which essentially means that he was living solely for himself. It is a picture of what we have done in America in the last few decades-where all our theology has largely been focused on self.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nJonah may not have visibly gone astray from God the way the prodigal son did, but he did take a journey where he chose to ignore the cries of perishing people around him. Although he had within himself the power to make a difference, he simply chose not to. That is the sad reality of our time, for many people in the house of God have made a similar choice. We know what our lives are supposed to be here on earth-a testimony of the glory of God, a light set upon a hill that cannot be hidden. We are supposed to endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, understanding that all who live godly lives shall suffer persecution. It will not be an easy journey. However, we must remember that we are not fighting for ourselves, for we are already going to heaven. We are now fighting for others.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhat a tragedy it would be to stand at the throne of God one day and look over on the other side at the faces of people I knew-people whom I could have influenced-looking at me with a longing in their eyes. \"You knew this! Why did you choose not to tell me? Why did you let your light remain hidden under a bushel? Even if I persecuted you, why didn't you at least confront me with this message of eternal life that God gives through Jesus Christ?\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe Bible tells us that Jonah arose to flee from the presence of the Lord. He found a ship going in the opposite direction, paid the fare, and got on. There is always a price to pay when we take a journey away from God-when we as His people choose to focus on ourselves and move away from His burden for the lost. Look at the price we are paying in America today. Society is now redefining marriage; the family is breaking down; immorality is abounding; and we are standing on the edge of a social and moral abyss. God help us if we do not rise to the occasion now and pray. We know that when we begin to pray, God begins to speak. When God begins to speak, we begin to move. And when we begin to move, the supernatural begins to happen again. It is not by human reasoning or human power but by the Spirit of God that His kingdom comes and advances in the earth. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nSo how will the Lord get hold of His people one more time? The Scriptures show us ways that He has done so in the past, and we would do well to learn from them. In the example of the prodigal son, God got this boy's attention by sending a famine into the nation.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\n\"And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would [gladly] have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father...\"<\/span> (Luke 15:14-18). The famine made this son yearn for his father's house once again. It caused him to recognize that the captivity he had embraced and assumed would result in happiness actually was empty. One day he finally got up and headed home, only to find that his father still loved him with a passion.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nIn Jonah's case, the Lord sent a great storm, which is another common way that He gets hold of His people. The book of Hebrews speaks of one last storm that is going to come to this world, perhaps in the not-too-distant future. \"...Now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain\"<\/span> (Hebrews 12:26-27). In fact, a shaking has already started in this world. Problems are arising that are beyond mankind's capability of solving, and many are beginning to be filled with fear.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n ARISE, SLEEPER!<\/span>
\r\n\r\nAs the storm intensified, fear also came upon everybody on that journey with Jonah, and they \"cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, \r\nto lighten it of them\" <\/span>(Jonah 1:5). Eventually they began throwing out things that they had carried with them, just as we are doing now as a nation. We are throwing overboard the very things that have been with us for hundreds of years-godly principles and values that have been tried and proven-all in the name of a new society.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nAll the while, where was Jonah? Down in the lowest part of the ship, fast asleep! This speaks to me of our time. We are in the midst of an incredible storm, but many of God's people are fast asleep, simply riding out the storm. It's me and You, Jesus! It's so good to know You and so good to go to church on Sunday. It's so good to get back to business as usual from Monday to Saturday and all the things that I'm called to do.<\/span><\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nSuddenly the shipmaster came to Jonah and said, \"What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not\"<\/span> (Jonah 1:6). Jonah was being rebuked by a man who didn't even know the God that he knew! You and I must realize that we are living at a time when the shipmaster is calling once again. Society is walking past our churches, peering in the doors, wondering, \"Is there hope here? Can I find direction here? Will the fear of my heart be assuaged here? If I prayed in this place, would my children come home?\" A recent magazine article talking about the calamities currently facing the world was published with the headline: \"Who will save us?\" People in our society are beginning to realize that we are in a storm of unprecedented proportions, and a cry for help is rising.<\/p>\r\n

\r\nJonah finally confessed to the men on the ship, \"I know the solution to your problem. I have avoided the call of God, but if you will cast me into the midst of the storm, it will cease\" (see Jonah 1:12). This is a type of New Testament believer who finally says, \"God, if I will give my life for the sake of others who are going through this crisis, if I am willing to be cast into the middle of it, all that I ask is that You cause my life to be used for the betterment of others.\" So the sailors cast Jonah into the sea. Immediately the storm ceased, and everybody began to worship God. <\/p>\r\n

\r\n CRY OUT TO GOD<\/span>
\r\n\r\nJonah then began to pray in the midst of his trial, which happened to be from within the belly of a fish. \"I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me\"<\/span> (Jonah 2:2-3). In other words, \"I felt like I had fallen out of favor with God, and a myriad of arguments were coming against my mind.\" Likewise, when you start talking about returning to prayer and the work of God, arguments from the enemy and perhaps even from the frailty of your own heart will come against you to try to discourage you: \"Your time has passed. God did call you once before, but you walked away and chose to lavish this great salvation on yourself. Now it is too late.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nYet Jonah continued to cry out to the Lord. \"Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head...Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple\" <\/span>(Jonah 2:4-7). Jonah was saying, \"Despite all that was coming against my mind, You lifted me. You gave me the power to pray and the ability to fulfill Your calling on my life.\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\n\"They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord\"<\/span> (Jonah 2:8-9). In other words, \"I once declared that I would serve You, but I strayed far away from You. Now I remember Your salvation and Your mercy. In spite of what I have done, I know that You are still merciful, and I know You will take me-not in my strength, but in my weakness!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nWhat a reminder that the Lord calls us to the throne of grace, not when we have it all together, but when we find ourselves in a time of need (see Hebrews 4:16). He is not calling us in this hour because we are strong. No, He is calling us because He knows that we need Him, and He desires for us to finish the work He has commissioned us to do in this generation. I thank God that we have reached a point in this nation where we must go to the house of God and begin to cry out to Jesus once again.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nThe Bible tells us that when Jonah began to pray, the Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited him onto dry land. Jonah found himself back at the place that he thought he had lost forever-the ministry once given to him that he had fled from. It is the same as when the prodigal son got up and went home-at once he was in the embrace of his loving father! Immediately the robe of righteousness was put upon him, along with a ring of authority and shoes for the journey that he was being invited to go on, a journey where he would speak about this incredible mercy of his father's house.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nGod is good and His mercy endures forever! That will be your testimony as well as your message for others. So no matter where you are today, no matter how deep your captivity or how helpless and hopeless you feel, call out to God. When we call out to the Lord, our lives and testimonies are restored, and as a result many others will find the mercy of God in Jesus Christ.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nYou and I must not be silent or run from God's calling any longer. We must determine in our hearts that our mouths are going to speak and our hands are going to reach out. We must fight for the souls of men and women in this generation-even those who may hate the truth of God.<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\r\nLet us once again become a people of prayer in the Body of Jesus Christ. Pray for an awakening in your city. Pray that every church will come alive by the Spirit of God. Pray for our nation, pray for our government, pray for our president. Pray as you have never prayed before! And let's believe God together that there will be a mighty harvest in this last hour of time in which we are living!<\/p>"},"75":{"sm_title":"The Future is Already Written","sm_id":"46","sm_desc":"June 15, 2015 - Beware of being in places you should not be in and listening to voices that are contrary to God. A true representative of God will stand and speak the truth irrespective of the cost. A false representative will tell you exactly what your heart wants to hear even if the direction you are going in is leading you to spiritual death. ","sm_jpg":"24617_jb_1_10am_image_sermon_page.jpg","sm_date":"2014-10","length_sec":"","length_min":"","sm_asx":"http:\/\/media3c.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/06\/15s1\/20140615s1.mp4","sm_mp3":"http:\/\/sermon3a.tscnyc.ws\/2014\/mp3g\/20140615s1.mp3","sm_exSource":"youtube","sm_exID":"6aueyKB1IHg","sm_pdf":"https:\/\/sermons.tsc.nyc\/files\/25017_sermon-newsletter-201410-the-future-is-already-written.pdf","sm_newsletter_text":"

As you look around at all that is occurring in the world today, perhaps you are beginning to wonder: What does the future hold? Where is this world heading? What is my part in it all?<\/p>\r\n

\r\n When we take time to study the Scriptures carefully, it becomes obvious that certain behaviors of humanity never fail to elicit a standard, established response from God. So in that sense, the future is already written. For example, we see in the Bible that many signs precede the judgment of God on a nation-one of which is the rise of smooth-talking prophets. These are prophets who say to the people, \"All is well! Go ahead and pursue the course that you have set before you; God is with you.\" They speak only sweet, positive things while the nation is heading into judgment. The devil puts these prophets there to lull God's people to sleep-to cause them to abandon the prayer meeting; to rob them of the sense of urgency and an eternal perspective. Even the apostle Paul warned us that a time will come when people \"will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears\"<\/span> (2 Timothy 4:3).<\/p>\r\n

\r\nThe Bible tells us that God specifically instructed the prophet Isaiah to write down the following words so that future generations might be instructed by them. Speaking of Israel, the Lord said: \"This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us\"<\/span> (Isaiah 30:9-11).<\/p>\r\n

\r\nGod's own people had reached a point where they could no longer be spoken to. They were essentially saying, \"Don't stand in our way; don't tell us that the journey we are undertaking is not a good one and that we must turn and go another way. We do not want to hear it. Tell us instead that God is with us and that we are going to prosper!\"<\/p>\r\n

\r\n\"Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters' vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a [fragment] to take fire from the hearth,